Wrongful termination happens when your employer fires you for an illegal reason. Learn what qualifies as wrongful discharge and the actions you can take.
Examples of wrongful termination
Your termination could be wrongful if your employer fired you:
- Due to discrimination
- In violation of a federal or state labor law
- Because you reported and refused to participate in harassment
- Because you reported and refused to conduct an illegal act or safety violation
Termination could also be considered wrongful if your employer fired you, but did not follow their termination policies.
What to do after wrongful termination
Termination due to discrimination
If you were fired because of discrimination, file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Termination in retaliation
If you were fired in retaliation for reporting unsafe or illegal work practices or products, you have whistleblower protections. Report your termination to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Find instructions for filing a whistleblower complaint.
Termination for exercising your legal rights
If your employer fired you because you exercised rights under a state labor law, report your termination to your state's labor department.
If your employer fired you because you exercised rights related to leave, wages, or overtime, complain to the Department of Labor.
You can also reach out directly to their Wage and Hour Division's local office.
Seek legal counsel
Seek legal counsel if your employer wrongfully fired you for a reason not under state or federal law.
Before you sue your employer for discrimination, you must file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
LAST UPDATED: May 30, 2023
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