The Law Dictionary

Your Free Online Legal Dictionary • Featuring Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd Ed.

How To Sue For Wrongful Termination

Need Professional Help?

Get connected with an employment law attorney in 60 seconds or less.

After you have been fired from your job, you might wonder if the termination was illegal. Nowadays, workers have more ways to sue a company for improperly firing them. This is how to sue for wrongful termination.

Employment Contract Versus At Will

First, you must determine whether you were working 1) “at will” or 2) had a valid employment contract. Unfortunately, most employees are “at will,” meaning that either party can terminate the relationship at any time. A contract clearly defines the relationship between employer and employee.

Secondly, what was the reason given for your termination? Some states do not require companies to provide a reason. You could write a respectful letter to your ex-employer asking for the exact reason for your termination.

<h3>At Will Discrimination or Retaliation</h3>

A business cannot fire an employee who is fulfilling the basic duties of citizenship: jury duty, voting or National Guard service. Discrimination based on race, gender, age or other factors is also illegal. There are strict time limits for discrimination suits; contact the relevant state or federal authority if you believe you have been discriminated against. If your company violated the law and you reported them to the government, then you may garner protection as a “whistle blower.”

<h3>Valid Employment Contract Breach of Good Faith</h3>

The courts have supported wrongful termination suits when employers did not act in “good faith” under the terms of a contract. If the company “misled” the worker, promised compensation or hinted at continued employment, these might constitute “implied promises.” You could win your lawsuit if all your performance reviews were positive and you were suddenly terminated without cause.

Collect Evidence: Violation of Common Practices

Every company has standard operating procedures for how they handle employment. Did your manager violate any guidelines when he fired you? Were you given warning over poor performance? Did your supervisor make any prejudicial, stereotypical or derogatory remarks about you? How did your performance compare to others who weren’t fired?

To win your wrongful termination suit, you must collect evidence that can be admitted in a court of law: employee manuals, training videos, paychecks, emails and performance reviews. You also have the right to subpoena witnesses. You must show that your performance was acceptable and the company wrongfully terminated you for illegal reasons.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

Recent Employment & Labor Law Articles