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Wrongful termination is a term that is used in a number of different ways. There is a legal sense to the word, and a standard everyday use. We tend to think of wrongful termination as thoughtful, caring people who believe that a certain ending of a job is unfair, unethical, or just plain wrong. However, just because we feel that way about a firing or a lay off doesn’t mean that it is illegal. In fact, employers have a great deal of leeway in the current employment laws that allow them to hire and terminate with a great deal of freedom.
To best comprehend what wrongful termination is all about, it is important to understand the legal jargon that is involved. It most places, for example, the issue of “good cause” is a deciding factor of legality. This means that an employer must give acceptable reasons – according to the courts or arbitrators involved – for the termination to occur.
The following are a number of the different reasons that courts will usually agree are issues of wrongful termination:
It is considered to be wrongful termination if employers terminate you based only on gender, ethnicity, disability, an a large number of other discriminatory causes.
An employer is not permitted to terminate you for such actions as whistle blowing – that is, telling the proper authorities about illegal activities in which they are taking part. It is also wrongful termination if they fire you for something you have done legally, or that they have done illegally, or because you refused to participate in an act that is against the law.
Defamation of Character
If an employer intentionally defames your character in order to justify your termination, this is also considered to be wrongful termination. For example, if an employer makes a false accusation regarding stealing or another illegal activity in order to have an excuse for firing you, you will likely have a wrongful termination case.
Breach of Contract
This can include contracts that are either explicit or implied. This means that if you are working on contract for a predetermined period of time, employers will normally be unable to terminate that contract before the end of its term without proper cause. However, if that contract includes an escape clause, which states that either the employee or the employer is entitled to ending the contract without consequence, then that is usually accepted as good cause.
Breach of Good Faith
When it comes to fair dealing, an implied relationship is formed between the employer and the employee, where the employee is expected to be treated fairly, especially in the case that they have proven themselves to be dedicated and have worked with the employer for a long time.
This term means that if you feel that you must quit because of changes made by the employer that made your working conditions unbearable, and if any other reasonable employee would also have made that same choice under the same conditions, then wrongful termination may be considered in this case.
It is often up to the employee to prove that s/he was wrongfully terminated, because the law tries to protect the rights of businesses as well. That being the case, make sure that you have well documented everything to do with your termination if you intend to contest it.