Although many individuals who are terminated from their job feel their termination was “wrongful,” especially if it was done without cause, the legal definition of wrongful termination is quite specific.
To be wrongfully terminated is to be fired for an illegal reason, which may involve violation of federal anti-discrimination laws or a contractual breach. For instance, an employee cannot be fired on the basis of race, gender, ethnic background, religion, or disability. It is also illegal to fire an employee because they lodged a legal complaint against the employer, or because the employee brought the employer’s wrongdoing to light as a whistleblower. Such adverse actions are considered “retaliation” and are unlawful.