7 Most Common Examples of Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination cases are among the most contentious and legally intricate disputes in employment law. They arise when an employee is fired under circumstances that contravene legal protections, contractual agreements, or established public policies. Such terminations not only impact the livelihood of the individual but also raise significant ethical and legal concerns for organizations. 

This blog explores seven common examples of wrongful termination, shedding light on their implications and providing insights into legal recourse for affected employees.

What Is a Wrongful Termination Claim?

Wrongful termination means an unlawful firing of an employee at the workplace. While employment in most states in the United States is generally considered “at-will,” meaning employers can terminate employees for any reason (except illegal ones), there are exceptions to this rule. Wrongful termination claims arise when an employee is fired for reasons that contravene federal or state laws, public policy, or employment agreements.

7 Examples of Wrongful Termination

Let’s delve deeper into each of the 7 common examples of wrongful termination:

  1. Discrimination

Discriminatory wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion, disability, or national origin. For example, terminating an employee because of their pregnancy, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs constitutes discrimination and is illegal under federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

  1. Retaliation

Retaliatory wrongful termination happens when an employer fires an employee in retaliation for engaging in legally protected activities. These activities may include reporting workplace harassment or discrimination, filing a complaint with regulatory agencies, or participating in an investigation into illegal practices within the company. Retaliation is prohibited to safeguard employees’ rights and ensure a workplace free from fear of reprisal.

  1. Breach of Contract

Wrongful termination due to breach of contract occurs when an employer violates terms outlined in an employment contract regarding termination procedures, notice periods, or reasons for dismissal. If an employer terminates an employee without adhering to these contractual obligations or valid reasons specified in the agreement, the employee may have grounds for a breach of contract claim.

  1. Violation of Public Policy

Terminating an employee for reasons that violate established public policy constitutes wrongful termination. This includes firing an employee for refusing to engage in illegal activities, whistleblowing on unethical practices, or exercising legal rights such as voting or serving on jury duty. Protection of public policy ensures that employees can act in the best interest of society without fear of losing their jobs unjustly.

  1. Constructive Discharge

Constructive discharge occurs when an employer creates intolerable working conditions that compel an employee to resign involuntarily. These conditions may include harassment, discrimination, unsafe working conditions, or significant changes in job responsibilities without proper justification. If an employee resigns due to such conditions, it may be considered equivalent to wrongful termination.

  1. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Violations

Under the FMLA, eligible employees have the right to take unpaid leave for qualified medical or family reasons without the risk of losing their jobs. Wrongful termination related to FMLA violations includes firing an employee for taking FMLA leave, retaliating against them for exercising this right or refusing to reinstate them to their previous position after returning from FMLA leave.

  1. Violation of Implied Promises

Employers sometimes make implied promises regarding job security, career advancement, or specific treatment of employees. Wrongful termination based on violation of implied promises occurs when an employer fails to fulfill these expectations without valid reasons. This may include firing an employee shortly before vested benefits or promotions are due, contrary to the assurances or practices established by the employer.

How a Lawyer Can Help If You Have a Case?

Navigating a wrongful termination claim can be complex and challenging without legal expertise. A skilled employment lawyer specializing in wrongful termination can provide invaluable assistance:

  • Legal Assessment: Evaluate the circumstances of your termination to determine if it constitutes wrongful termination under applicable laws and regulations.
  • Gathering Evidence: Collect and analyze evidence, such as employment records, emails, witness statements, and performance evaluations, to support your claim.
  • Negotiation and Mediation: Represent you in negotiations with your former employer or engage in mediation to seek a resolution without going to court.
  • Litigation: File a lawsuit and represent you in court if a resolution cannot be reached through negotiation or mediation.
  • Legal Strategy Development: Formulate a comprehensive legal strategy tailored to your specific case, including identifying the strongest legal arguments and defenses.

With a well-crafted legal strategy, your lawyer will maximize your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in your wrongful termination case.


Wrongful termination is a serious issue that can have significant repercussions for employees. Understanding the common examples of wrongful termination, such as discrimination, retaliation, and breach of contract, is essential for protecting your rights in the workplace. 

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, consulting with an experienced employment lawyer from BT Law Group can help you navigate the legal process and seek justice.

By being aware of your rights and legal options, you can take proactive steps to address wrongful termination and uphold fairness and integrity in the workplace.

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