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What is a retaliatory firing?

Whenever a person is let go from a job, there is the potential for that person to feel that he or she has been wrongfully terminated. There are a number of reasons that a job termination may not be legal, and it is important to have a good grasp on the basics of wrongful termination laws to help you evaluate if your experience was illegal or simply frustrating. One of the key elements to many wrongful termination cases is whether or not the firing was retaliatory.

In general, an employer is restricted from firing an employee after they take or suggest they will take certain actions. Protected actions usually include reporting illegal activity or unethical behavior to a regulation enforcement agency.

If you reported illegal or unethical behavior to an enforcement agency before being terminated, or if you cooperated with an investigation into the company or an individual within the company, then you may have been wrongfully terminated.

It is important to note any other behavior on the part of your employer, or a person within the company who may have violated wrongful termination laws. If you were given a warning not to participate in an investigation or reprimanded for reporting bad behavior within the company, your firing may have been retaliatory.

Another common type of retaliatory termination can occur when an individual is terminated after exercising one or more of his or her rights as an employee. These might include a religious exemption or use of medical leave. If you were fired after exercising your rights, even if you were counseled not to do so by your employer, your firing may have been retaliatory.

Each set of circumstances is different, and should be evaluated individually by qualified legal counsel. If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, do not hesitate to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney who can help you defend your rights and livelihood.

Source: Findlaw, "Wrongful Termination Checklist," accessed Jan. 27, 2017

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