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Wrongful dismissal, also called wrongful termination or wrongful discharge, is an idiom and legal phrase, describing a situation in which an employee's contract of employment has been terminated by the employer in circumstances where the termination breaches one or more terms of the contract of employment, or a statute provision in employment law. It follows that the scope for wrongful dismissal varies according to the terms of the employment contract, and varies by jurisdiction. Note that the absence of a formal contract of employment does not preclude wrongful dismissal in jurisdictions in which a de facto contract is taken to exist by virtue of the employment relationship. Terms of such a contract may include obligations and rights outlined in an employee handbook.
Being terminated for any of the items listed below may constitute wrongful termination:
- Discrimination: The employer cannot terminate employment because the employee is a certain race, nationality, religion, sex, age, or in some states, sexual orientation.
- Retaliation: An employer cannot fire an employee because the employee filed a claim of discrimination or is participating in an investigation for discrimination. This "retaliation" is forbidden under civil rights law.
- Employee's Refusal to Commit an Illegal Act: An employer is not permitted to fire an employee because the employee refuses to commit an act that is illegal.
- Employer Not Following Own Termination Procedures: Often, the employee handbook or company policy outlines a procedure that must be followed before an employee is terminated. If the employer fires an employee without following this procedure, the employee may have a claim for wrongful termination. (Wrongful Dismissal. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.)
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