Understanding Your Rights: Illegal Termination and What You Can Do


Illegal termination is a distressing situation that many employees face. Whether you’ve been wrongfully fired, laid off without proper notice, or let go in violation of your employment contract, it’s crucial to understand your rights and know what steps to take. In this article, we’ll delve into the concept of illegal termination, explore your rights as an employee, and discuss what you can do if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

What is Illegal Termination?

Illegal termination, also known as wrongful termination, occurs when an employer fires an employee for reasons that violate the law. There are several circumstances that constitute illegal termination, including:

  1. Discrimination: If you were fired based on your race, gender, age, religion, disability, or any other protected characteristic, it is considered illegal termination.
  2. Retaliation: If you were terminated for reporting illegal activity in the workplace, whistleblowing, or exercising your legal rights, it is considered retaliatory termination and is illegal.
  3. Breach of Contract: If you were fired in violation of an employment contract, whether written or implied, it constitutes illegal termination.

Know Your Rights

As an employee, you have rights that protect you from illegal termination. These rights vary depending on your location, the size of your employer, and other factors, but they generally include:

  1. Anti-Discrimination Laws: You are protected from termination based on your race, gender, age, religion, disability, and other protected characteristics under anti-discrimination laws.
  2. Whistleblower Protection: If you report illegal activity in the workplace or exercise your legal rights, you are protected from retaliation.
  3. Employment Contracts: If you have an employment contract, your employer must follow the terms of that contract when terminating your employment.

What to Do If You’ve Been Illegally Terminated

If you believe you’ve been illegally terminated, there are several steps you can take to protect your rights:

  1. Document Everything: Keep a record of any evidence that supports your claim of illegal termination, including emails, performance reviews, and witness statements.
  2. Consult an Attorney: An experienced employment attorney can help you understand your rights, evaluate your case, and determine the best course of action.
  3. File a Complaint: Depending on the nature of your termination, you may be able to file a complaint with a government agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Department of Labor.
  4. Consider Legal Action: If your employer refuses to resolve the situation, you may need to take legal action by filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination.


Illegal termination is a serious issue that can have a significant impact on your life and livelihood. By understanding your rights and knowing what steps to take if you’ve been illegally terminated, you can protect yourself and seek justice for any wrongdoing. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate to seek help from an experienced employment attorney who can guide you through the process and help you pursue the best possible outcome.

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