Originally published July 9, 2019.

Many people feel that because Michigan is an “at-will” work state that employers do not need a specific reason to terminate employment, or can fire an employee for any reason at all. However, there are exceptions where an employee may file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Understanding the various circumstances in which you can take legal action to protect your rights is imperative. As an employee, you should learn how to recognize these conditions so if you are ever wrongfully terminated, you can take legal action against your employer.

Discriminatory Firing is Illegal

If an employer attempts to terminate an employee based on a discriminatory reason, it may be considered wrongful termination.

For instance, it is illegal to fire an employee based on their:

  • Race
  • Skin color
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Age

All of these statuses are federally protected, which means even in an at-will employment state, employers cannot fire someone for these reasons.

Breaking Employment Contracts is Illegal

When an employer and employee have a written contract and termination would violate the terms of said contract—for example, if the employment was supposed to last until a certain date—it may be considered wrongful termination. It must be determined if the attempt to fire the employee was considered a violation of the contract terms.

Not all contracts have to be written, either. There are situations where oral promises were made regarding length of employment. If the employer promises to not terminate employment for a specific length of time, then breaks that oral promise, the employee may have a right to a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Implied contracts may also be considered, such as when employers break terms set forth in an employee handbook.

Retaliatory Firing is Illegal

Employees have a right to report any safety violations that threaten their health. If an employer attempts to fire an employee for reporting an injury-causing incident or health violation, it can be considered wrongful termination and the employee may have a right to file a claim.

Get a Wrongful Termination Claim Started with Fieger Law

Former employees can file a wrongful termination claim through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission once they have gathered relevant materials as proof. A claim can be submitted on the EEOC’s website by contacting them over the phone or by visiting the local EEOC office.

If you believe you were wrongfully and illegally terminated, contact Fieger Law today for a free case consultation. We can help you determine the strength of your case, and your best path forward for compensation