Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is dismissed for reasons that are illegal. These could include:
- refusal to commit an illegal act
- the employer did not follow their own termination procedures
The reasoning has to be very specific and clear that the firing was illegal for any reason, discrimination or a contractual breach. All states, with the exception of Montana, employees are considered at-will, meaning they can be fired without cause at any time. However, if there was an implied contract, public policy violation, or covenant of good faith and fair dealing they may be able to use a wrongful termination suit.
It’s illegal to fire someone because they filed a legal complaint against an employer or a whistle-blower employee. In addition, written or implied promises can be considered a contract and in those cases the fired employee may have a wrongful termination suit.