Employment Law 101: Wrongful Termination and “Employment-at-Will” Contracts

In some ways, the U.S. marketplace has yet to fully recover from the instability it experienced in the past decade. This is evident in the fact that there are still a good number of people that are having a difficult time with finding employment opportunities. As of September 2016, the U.S. unemployment rate is at 5 percent. While this is certainly an improvement compared to the last five years, there’s still plenty of room for improvements to be made. As such, it’s completely understandable why many workers jump at the chance to secure a job—even if it comes with certain costs.

In most states across America, workers are employed under what is called an “employment-at-will” contract. According to the Leichter Employment Law Firm, being an at-will employee means that employers are to issue a termination without giving prior notice as long as the reasons are legitimate and lawful. Unfortunately, many employers tend to abuse the leeway provided by such a contract. In some cases, employees do not receive appropriate notice for their termination. This is when wrongful termination happens. When an employee is suddenly let go of their jobs without any discernable explanation, it can typically be due to violations in fair labor practices. Wrongful termination includes the firing of employees based on discriminatory acts against their race, gender, religion, or health status. It can also be done as retaliation against employees who might have, for example, gone ahead to lodge a complaint against a supervisor’s continued harassment.

Employment-at-will contracts also go both ways. While employers are allowed to terminate a working relationship with an employee at any given time with appropriate reason, the same thing can also be done by the other party. Still, for many employees, it seems that at-will contracts only benefit employers as it allows them to work around specific fair labor practices regulations. With this in mind, employees in these situations shouldn’t hesitate to consult with a legal professional to learn more about how they can lodge official complaints against their wrongful termination.

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