Employers may think that they can generally fire an employee for any reason. In some situations, that may be true. There are certain situations, however, when they may be prohibited from firing an employee and it may be considered wrongful termination if they do. Workers should be familiar with when it is unlawful to terminate an employee.
Employers are prohibited from firing an employee based on a discriminatory reason. It can also be illegal for the employer to fire an employee for participating in, or being a witness in, an investigation or lawsuit concerning discrimination or harassment in the workplace or if the employer is engaging in illegal activity. It can also be considered wrongful termination if the employer fires the employee for reporting discrimination or harassment to a supervisor.
Asking about wages
It can also be illegal to fire an employee for asking others about wage information. A worker who does so may uncover potentially discriminatory wage practices. It is also unlawful to fire and employee simply because they asked for accommodation for disability or religious practices.
Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against employees for the same reasons. Forms of retaliation can include reprimanding the employee or giving the employee a poor performance review; transferring the employee to a less desirable position or giving them less desirable hours; increasing scrutiny on the employee; making the employee’s work more difficult; or threatening the employee. It can also include failing to promote the employee, demoting the employee or cutting their hours.
It is important for both employees and employers to know what wrongful termination is and what actions are considered retaliatory. Employment law can help guide employees when they have suffered wrongful termination.