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What can you not be fired for?

Federal laws protect most employees from being fired as an act of retaliation on the part of the employer. This protection only comes into play in certain circumstances, though. Here are some of the things that you can't be legally fired for.

You can't be fired because you participated in a lawful investigation of your employer or any worker in the company. This includes being a witness at a hearing, whether you were a witness for or against the employer. As long as you tell the truth as you know it in good faith, the employer cannot retaliate against you even if the testimony you provided was not in the company's best interest.

You also can't be fired for reporting illegal or unsafe issues in your workplace. Numerous federal or other regulatory agencies have procedures in place for you to report issues or potential issues such as fraud, violations of safety rules or discrimination in the workplace.

Your protection isn't limited to not losing your job. Employers can't reduce your pay, change your position or otherwise discipline you solely because you engaged in one of the protected actions above. If they do, then you have a potential basis for a lawsuit of your own, especially if you were fired. Being let go because you reported one of these types of issues is often a sign of wrongful termination.

To support a lawsuit for wrongful termination or retaliation, you have to be able to prove you were involved in a protected activity. You also have to show that you were let go solely because of that involvement. Many companies will try to show that you were let go for other reasons, making it important to have an experienced professional on your side.

Source: FindLaw, "Retaliation and Wrongful Termination," accessed Sep. 16, 2016

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