When a person is employed at-will, it means that they can be dismissed from their role without warning at any time. They will not be entitled to any form of compensation as a result of being fired, and they do not need to have done something wrong to be fired. Essentially, the employer can take action to fire them for no reason at all.
However, there are some exceptions to this rule. While an employer can fire an at-will employee for almost any reason, some causes for firing are prohibited. This is because employees are protected from wrongful termination law. This means that employers cannot fire employees due to discrimination or retaliation. The following are some of the most common forms of wrongful termination.
Wrongful termination due to discrimination
All workers in the United States are protected from discrimination. This means that negative actions cannot be taken against employees on discriminatory grounds, for example, because of their race, disability, age, gender or sexual orientation, instead of how well they perform in their role.
For example, if an employer has hired a person and later learns that their sexual orientation is not what they expected it to be, they may decide to fire the employee because they do not like this. This type of behavior is a prime example of wrongful termination due to discrimination, and it is never acceptable.
Wrongful termination due to retaliation
There are certain activities that employees can take that are protected under the law. This means that if an employer takes one of these actions, they cannot be fired because of it. For example, if an employer sees what they believe to be illegal activity in the workplace and they decide to take action to report their employer to a governmental agency, their employer may become angry about this and decide to fire them. This is another example of wrongful retaliation, because the worker in question made a legitimate complaint, and is being retaliated against because of this.
If you were being employed at-will but you believe that you have become victim to wrongful termination, you should not waste time before taking legal action so that you quickly gain the compensation that you deserve.