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3 questions to ask if you suspect a wrongful termination

Did you get fired, and are you wondering if that firing was actually illegal? While employers in the United States do have a lot of freedom to hire and fire employees as they see fit, that does not mean every situation adheres to the letter of the law. Here are four questions to ask if you think your employer violated your rights:

1. Does it breach a contract that you signed?

Many employees do not have contracts, so they can be fired fairly quickly and easily, but employees with contracts may have special protections. If you signed one, you need to know exactly how it defines your employment situation.

2. Was it in retaliation for something you did?

For instance, did you report on unsafe conditions in the workplace? You have a legal right to do this, and your employer cannot fire you or retaliate by cutting your pay, cutting your hours or doing anything else to make your job unpleasant.

3. Where you fired because of your age, race, gender or another protected class?

If you were, this could be clear-cut discrimination. Employers must give people of all protected classes the same rights and opportunities. Along with the above, they can't discriminate based on your national origin, your religion, your genetic information or a disability.

This is not a comprehensive list of all of the reasons for a wrongful termination, but it gives you a good place to start. If you do feel like your firing was not just unfair but also illegal, take the time to look into all of the rights and options you have.

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