Wrongful Termination

Terminations, Separation Agreements & U-5s

Outten & Golden attorneys can help employees fight wrongful terminations. Not every unfair employment discharge constitutes “wrongful termination.” Only illegal terminations are wrongful, i.e. only terminations that violate one of a variety of federal, state, and city laws. Some wrongful termination laws allow victims to file complaints with the government agencies that enforce the laws, file private lawsuits against their former employers, or both. Because of the variety of laws and legal principles under which legitimate wrongful termination claims can arise, such cases can be complex and can have short deadlines for taking legal action; our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help employees through these procedures.

If an employee is discharged for any of the following reasons, the discharge may constitute a wrongful termination:

  • In violation of a state or federal anti-discrimination law
  • In violation of the employment-related provisions in the Fair Credit Reporting Act or Bankruptcy Act
  • In violation of rights granted by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
  • In violation of the employer’s own discharge policy
  • In breach of an explicit or implied contract of employment or an employer-union collective bargaining agreement
  • In breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing
  • Because the employee would not break a law
  • For missing work to perform jury duty

Additionally, a termination might be wrongful if it is in retaliation for:

To better understand whether or not an unfair employment discharge constitutes wrongful termination, it’s important to know that employment is “at will” in virtually all states. That means that the U.S. legal system generally considers employment to be voluntary for both employers and employees. Consequently, employers have the right to discharge employees at any time and for any (even unfair) reasons (except for limited exceptions like those listed above), just as employees have the right to quit at any time and for any reasons. Wrongful termination may also be referred to as wrongful discharge, firing, or dismissal; illegal termination, discharge, or dismissal; or unfair dismissal.