One very common type of civil law case is that of wrongful termination. Wrongful termination can fall under many categories. The first is discrimination. It is illegal for an employer to fire an employee because of their race, religion, sex, nationality, age, and in some jurisdictions, sexual orientation. A couple of weeks ago, a Houston man by the name of Odell Hyden, filed a lawsuit against his company for age discrimination. Hyden had worked for Hagemeyer and its predecessor for over 50 years, and in April of 2013, he was let go for “poor performance.” Hyden alleges that this had nothing to do with performance and everything to do with his age. He is accusing his company for age discrimination, retaliation, and violations of the Human Rights Act.
This brings us to our second type of wrongful termination: retaliation. Retaliation is when the employer fires his or her employee because they have submitted a discrimination claim or are participating in a discrimination investigation. Retaliation is forbidden in the United States under civil rights law.
The next type of wrongful termination is an employee’s refusal to commit an illegal act. This should go without saying; however, it is still written in the constitution. If an employer asks an employee to perform an illegal act and he refuses, the employer may not fire the employee.
The last type of wrongful termination is when an employee is fired for not following the company’s termination procedures. Most companies have a procedure when terminating and employee. If that employee is let go before finishing the procedures, they might have a claim for wrongful termination.
In the US, there is no single wrongful termination law. There are several laws and court rulings that define the concept. Wrongful termination has become the most common labor claim in the United States.