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You are Here: Home > Blog > What is Wrongful Termination?

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Employee Rights and Related Matters

What is Wrongful Termination?

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Some employees who have yet to go through the unpleasant experience of involuntary employment termination, falsely assume that every unfair employment discharge amounts to wrongful termination.

Wrongful termination is an unfair employment discharge; but, unfortunately for employees, not every unfair employment discharge amounts to wrongful termination, at least not that of the actionable kind.

That’s because employment is “at-will” in the U.S., meaning that the U.S. legal system presumes that employment is voluntary and indefinite for both employers and employees under common law.

As a result, employers have the right to fire or lay off employees at anytime and for any, no or even unfair reasons, pretty much the same as employees have the right to quit their jobs at anytime and for any, no or even unfair reasons.

However, employers may not violate state or Federal laws, public policy or constitutional provisions, or breach employment contracts when discharging employees, as doing so invalidates the Doctrine of Employment at Will. Employers violating their own written discharge policies when terminating employees might also invalidate the Doctrine .

If an employer breaks a law or otherwise invalidates the Doctrine when discharging an employee, then that’s when an unfair employment discharge is likely to constitute actionable wrongful termination.

Did you know? Some employees also falsely assume that the “right to work” legal concept generally protects all employees from wrongful termination.

See the article Wrongful Termination for more information regarding same, including relevant laws and examples. Consult an attorney for legal advice.

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