What Reasons for Termination are Considered Illegal?

August 18, 2018 Admin Wrongful Termination

Getting fired from your job is one of the worst things to go through. It happens out of nowhere and now you no longer have a source of income. Sometimes you don’t receive any notice ahead of time either. Sometimes you may be fired for a viable reason. You couldn’t show up to work on time. Other times it’s for an unfair reason. You may have a case for wrongful termination and not even know it. For example, you were fired for being older. You were replaced by someone younger not due to their skills or any other characteristics, but simply their age. Most employees in the state of California are at an “at-will” employment. You can be fired for any reason, so long as that reason isn’t illegal. You should know some illegal reasons you may be fired over so that you can form a basis for suing your employer.


It is illegal for an employer to fire an employee for asserting their rights under the federal and anti-discrimination laws. You are allowed to bring a retaliation claim even if your original claim is unsuccessful. For example, you get fired for complaining that you were denied a raise because you are pregnant (a protected characteristic). Your employer can still lose in the retaliation suit even if the court found that the reason for you not receiving your raise was nondiscriminatory. The fact that they fired you because of it is a basis for the retaliation claim.

Violations Of Public Policy

An employer cannot fire you on the basis of violating public policy. Public policy means something that most people would find morally and/or ethically wrong. Since this is more on an opinion basis, it can be tricky to determine. Public policy varies state by state. Most states, however, agree on these three reasons for termination that are illegal and violate public policy. The first reason is being fired because of complaints about illegal conduct done by your employer. An example of this would be if you complained that your employer did not compensate you for overtime and they fired you based on that. The second reason is being fired for exercising a legal right. An example of this would be taking family leave time for your newborn and returning back and getting fired. The third reason is being fired for refusing to commit an illegal act. An example of this would be refusing to make the numbers in your accounting documents look better for the business, which is essentially falsifying documents.


Under federal law, it is illegal to fire someone based on protected characteristics. This is one of the more known forms of wrongful termination. These characteristics include race, age (must be over 40), gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, mental disability, or political affiliation. This also includes pregnancy, a condition related to pregnancy, or a condition related to childbirth.

When you get fired from your job it can be devastating. You may have a family to support. You have bills that are due. Sometimes it isn’t fair at all. Your employer took advantage of you. When dealing with this subject matter, you want someone who is experienced. Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney at Rager & Yoon – Employment Lawyers has years of experience and expertise in wrongful termination cases. Contact them for a free initial consultation at 310-527-6994.

Related Blogs

Individuals often confront the unsettling prospect of losing their jobs in economic turbulence or corporate reorganization moments. While layoffs or...

In the complex realm of employment law, understanding the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is paramount, especially when...

Wrongful termination is a legal issue that has gained increasing attention in recent years, particularly in Los Angeles, a city...

    Contact Us