Any job loss—whether due to downsizing, economic struggles or other concerns—can be a struggle for workers. However, in some cases, employers break the law when ending their employee’s time at the company. What makes a termination “wrongful,” and what can wrongfully terminated employees do to right this wrong?
What is wrongful termination?
Many states, including Wisconsin, use the doctrine of at-will employment, which means that the employer or employee can end the employment relationship at any time. However, it is still possible for employers to violate the law by ending a worker’s time at their company. Some examples of illegal or wrongful termination include:
- If an employer fired a worker because they blew the whistle on illegal behavior
- If the employer violated the terms of their contract with the employee
- If an employee refused to break the law and their employer fired them as a result
- If the employer terminated an employee as a result of discrimination, including engaging in layoffs that disproportionately impact a specific group of employees
What can workers do if they suspect their employer acted illegally?
While termination may seem final, it is not necessarily the end for wrongfully terminated workers. Thankfully, workers who lost their job due to retaliation, discrimination or other illegal activities on the part of their employer have legal options. They can file a complaint against their former employer, receive compensation for their lost wages, and may even be reinstated in their former position.
When navigating this process, it can be helpful to consult with an employment law attorney. Their guidance can help wrongfully terminated employees navigate the legal system and give their complaints the greatest chance for success.