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Determining when a firing is wrongful termination

| Mar 10, 2021 | Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination is a concept that applies only in very specific circumstances. Even when someone isn’t terminated for cause, it’s unlikely that they will have a case for wrongful termination. However, people in Hawaii should know the requirements for wrongful termination. Basically, wrongful termination cases only move forward when someone has been fired for an illegal reason.

What constitutes wrongful termination?

Wrongful termination would include firing a worker for a legally protected category including race, religion, disability and gender. Employees also can’t be fired for filing a complaint. That would be retaliation, which is also wrongful termination. Whistleblowers, people who report violations of the law committed by their employers, are protected from firing.

Today, many people work at-will. But contracts may offer more protection than that. Contracts often state terms for employment, including targets employees are expected to hit. If an employee is fired for a reason that’s not listed in the contract, they may be able to pursue legal action. Sometimes, even verbal contract promises will hold up in court.

Some states offer protection to classes that are not yet included in federal law. For example, in California, transgender people are a protected class. No one can fire someone just for being transgender in the state of California. In other states, that’s not yet the case.

If you or a loved one suspect that you’ve been wrongfully terminated, it’s a good idea to contact a lawyer. An experienced attorney may be able to help you understand if you have a case. They may also be able to help you know what documentation you will need to proceed and who can be pursued for damages.