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What Is a Wrongful Termination?

Since the 1970s, states have increasingly recognized claims brought by employees who allege that their employment was terminated in violation of public policy.  To varying degrees, all 50 states have adopted an employment “at-will” doctrine which allows an employer to fire or terminate the employment of one of their workers at any time and for almost any reason, or perhaps no reason at all.   At-will employees can be fired for employment related problems as well as issues that are not directly connected with the employment.

There are, however, situations in which the firing of an employee may be considered a wrongful termination meaning an employee is wrongly fired by his or her employer.

Types of Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination can include the following:

Age – Stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age.

Sex – Treating someone unfavorably because of the person’s sex, whether they are applying for a job or are a current employee.

Race – Racial discrimination refers to the practice of treating individuals differently because of their race or color.

Sexual orientation – Occurs when an employee is subjected to negative employment action, harassment, or denial of certain benefits because of their sexual orientation, or the sexual orientation of someone they are close to in their personal lives.

Disability – Disability discrimination means treating individuals differently in employment because of their disability, perceived disability, or association with an individual with a disability. This may include retaliation for requesting a reasonable accommodation for a disability.

Genetic information – Genetic information discrimination is any adverse employment action or unfair treatment taken against an employee based solely on their genetic information. The legal definition of Genetic information under the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act [1] (“GINA”) includes information about an individual’s genetic tests and the genetic tests of an individual’s family members; information about the manifestation of a disease or disorder in an individual’s family members (i.e. family medical history).

National origin – Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of national origin. It prevents discrimination based upon an individual’s birthplace, ancestry, culture, linguistic characteristics or accent. It also applies to individuals married to or associated with persons of a particular national origin, membership or association with specific ethnic promotion groups, attendance or participation in schools, churches, temples, or mosques associated with a national original group, or a surname associated with a national origin group.

Immigration status – Immigration Status Discrimination occurs when an employer treats an individual differently based upon their citizenship or immigration status. U.S citizens, recent permanent residents, asylees, and refugees are protected from immigration status discrimination.

Wrongful termination can also be based on the breach of an employment contract or protection given under both state and federal laws which prohibit employers from retaliating against their employees (such as firing them) for whistle blowing (when employees provide information to the government about their employer’s illegal actions, such as mismanagement or wasting funds).

If an individual is fired based upon a wrongful termination, they should speak with an employment attorney to discuss their rights and legal remedies.  Wrongful termination laws allow an employee to sue for damages which can include lost wages and benefits and, in some instances, punitive damages.  Damages can also include reinstatement of the employment, legal fees and compensation for emotional stress depending upon the specifics of the case.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA

Employment law is based on both federal and state laws which can be complicated to navigate and apply.  In Florida, the Florida Commission on Human Relations [2] enforces state laws prohibiting discrimination.  With so many statutes to consider and apply, it is important to contact an employment attorney as soon as you are wrongfully fired or laid off.  At the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in Clearwater, Florida, our team of highly skilled employment attorneys can assist with the filing of a complaint with the employer’s human resources department, if applicable, or to file a complaint with an outside agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Not having a job is stressful, especially if you were wrongfully terminated. Contact our employment attorneys to discuss your legal options and to receive your rightful compensation.  Please call our office at 727-451-6900 today.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375
(727) 451-6900



[1] https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/statutes/gina.cfm
[2] https://fchr.state.fl.us/