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What does wrongful termination actually cover?

You might be surprised, but wrongful termination laws don’t cover you simply because you believe you’ve been let go for unfair reasons. In Florida — and many other states — unless you are protected by a contract or some type of union agreement, your employment is at the will of the person who hired you. With some exceptions, the employer can let you go for reasons that seem stupid or unfair.

An employer can let you go because you voiced certain political opinions in the workplace, if you work for a private employer and don’t have any contract or union agreement that would keep this from happening. What an employer cannot legally let you go for is something like your age, your race, your religion, your gender or due to complaints you made about harassment in the work place. The latter would be considered a form of retaliation and all of the others would be discrimination.

Age, gender, religion and race are all protected classes under federal anti-discrimination laws. Some states have added to such protections, and federal law also provides some protections for individuals who are ill or pregnant, usually under the Family Medical Leave Act. But those laws can be complex and apply differently depending on your work situation. Sometimes, it can take a legal professional to sort out whether a case of wrongful termination might have occurred.

If wrongful termination has occurred, then you might have a case for a lawsuit or other action against your employer. Wrongful termination lawsuits seek a variety of reparations, from compensation for damages to a return to work status.

Source: Forturne, “Wrongful termination: What it is – and isn’t,” Anne Fisher, accessed Feb. 15, 2016

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