Common Types of Wrongful Termination

Discriminatory Firing

If a person was fired from their job due to their race, national origin, sexual orientation, color, disability, age or pregnancy, and it had nothing to do with their job performance, this is considered discrimination. There has to be some other reason that involves job performance for a legal termination. Charges can be filed with a local or state discrimination agency or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

It is important to note that there are strict time limitations on discrimination cases. Therefore, if you have a case you think might fall under the discrimination category, procure the advice of an attorney as soon as possible to get your case started. 


Another legal aspect of wrongful termination is retaliation. In these cases, employees are terminated due to certain actions. For example, the employee might have filed a complaint about work conditions, issued a sexual harassment or discrimination claim or participated in an investigation pertaining to their employer. Thankfully, employees are protected from this type of wrongful termination by state and federal whistleblower statutes or tort actions. Federal statues, such as the Clean Air Act, Energy Reorganization Act and Water Pollution Control Act are just a few examples.

In addition, many states also have their own protections in place to prevent employers from wrongfully terminating an employee in retaliation.  Illinois’ protections against retaliation for whistleblowing are broad, so if you believe you’ve been retaliated against for whistleblowing, you should consult an employment attorney immediately.

Violation of Employment Agreement or Contract

Many employees do not have an individual employment agreement with their employer.  But if you do, an employer cannot rightfully terminate that agreement except as permitted under the terms of the agreement.  Every agreement is different, but a typical employee contract will state that the employee cannot be fired for anything other than specific reasons; these include engaging in certain types of misconduct.

If the employee is terminated for any cause other than the specific listed reasons, this is considered a violation of their contract, damages may be available under the contract.  If you believe you have an employment agreement, even if the employer did not sign it or it only exists in the form of the offer letter you accepted, you should consult an attorney about what it means.

Contact The Wood Law Office

The consequences of being wrongfully terminated from your job can have drastic effects on your professional, financial and personal well-being. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated and wish to speak to an experienced lawyer, fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with us.