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What is wrongful termination?

If you lost your job in a way that seems unfair, you may be wondering if you have a wrongful termination case. In reality, unless you have an employment contract, your employment is more than likely "at will." This means your employer can fire you at any time and for almost any reason -- or for no reason.

There are exceptions, however. Your employer cannot fire you for an illegal reason, such as discrimination. Here are examples of times when you may have a legal action for wrongful termination:

  • If your employer discriminated against you based on your race, age, religion or other protected status
  • If your employer fired you in retaliation for a protected activity, such as reporting discrimination or sexual harassment, or supporting another's claim.
  • If your employer fired you for exercising a workplace right, such as taking family or medical leave
  • If your employer violated a written or implied promise made to you for continued employment.

In Florida, you enjoy additional protections. For example, your employer cannot fire you because of your political opinions or affiliation. You are also protected against adverse employer actions for reporting violation of a law, rule, or regulation.

You may have other legal options following a job termination. If your employer made false and malicious statements about you that hurt your chances of finding a new job, you may have a defamation claim.

The distinctions between what is legal and what is illegal when it comes to job termination can be subtle, and only an experienced employment lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal environment affecting your situation.

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