Employers can fire employees at any time for any reason. However, that doesn’t always mean that employers can walk away from every termination quickly and easily. Often, they can get in trouble if they dismiss workers for reasons that violate federal or state laws.
No matter the outcome, it’s best to try and avoid wrongful termination lawsuits if possible. That’s because they can cost businesses a significant amount of time and money.
Instances where termination could be considered wrongful
Firing workers in these situations can get businesses in trouble:
- Retaliation: Generally speaking, it’s against the law for employers to fire workers for asserting their legal rights. For example, if an employer terminates an employee for complaining about payments based on their gender, the employer could likely lose a retaliation lawsuit, even if they can demonstrate that their pay schedules were not discriminatory.
- Complaints about federal or state violations: Because of OSHA rules, businesses cannot fire workers if they make negative comments about their employer’s health and safety standards.
- Immigration status: Employers are often barred from terminating workers due to their immigration status, as long as the employee meets the proper qualifications for working in the United States.
- Discrimination: One of the most important employment rules businesses must follow is not firing employees based on their race, disability, gender, age and other protected classes. Employers also cannot fire workers who are pregnant or have a medical condition that came from childbirth.
Wrongful termination can give employers anxiety
Even law-abiding businesses can have fears regarding what is and isn’t considered wrongful termination. Luckily, owners can have a professional and affordable employment law attorney on their side. They can help address any concerns business owners and supervisors may have and defend their case in court.