The question posed in our title may seem simple on the surface. Most people can "tell" or they get a gut instinct when they read a wrongful termination story, and they make a determination based on these feelings. Of course, in the eyes of the law, that doesn't cut it. Profound evidence needs to be there to establish a wrongful termination case.
But let's take the question as it is posed. What is wrongful termination? In the simplest form, wrongful termination is any firing that is illegal as currently stated by state or federal law. That's a blanket statement, but it does cover the definition. Wrongful termination cases are often seen when an employee is retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment or illegal activity performed by a co-worker or the company itself. Discriminatory tactics are also common circumstances that can lead to a wrongful termination case.
Wrongful termination can also happen if the employee's contract is violated in some way. It is important to remember that if you are an at-will employee -- which most employees are -- then you can be fired for virtually any legal reason. Of course, discriminatory, retaliatory, and other illegal reasons for terminating someone's employment aren't covered under this at-will arrangement.
When an employee is wrongfully terminated, it is important for he or she to carefully consider his or her situation and to remember that they have rights under employment rules, regulations, and laws. You should consider consulting with an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case.