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Can you sue because your employer fired you?

You can't file a lawsuit that will be potentially successful simply because your employer let you go. In many cases, this is true regardless of why your employer let you go -- as long as the company didn't break any specific rules or laws in their reasons for terminating you.

When a company terminates your employment for a lawful reason, you can't typically file suit. Lawful reasons for termination include the end of a contract, failure to perform required job duties or simply the fact that the company doesn't need your services any longer.

Unlawful reasons for termination can include breach of an employment contract by your employer, failure to follow the employer's own policies about termination or differential treatment that results in you being let go. For example, if a company has a rule that employees must be written up three times and counseled by supervisors before they can be fired for an offense, then you might have a case if you were fired without these disciplinary steps being taken first. You might also have a case for wrongful termination if you were let go over an incident but someone of a different race or gender was not let go in the same incident.

Another unlawful reason for termination is retaliation. Employers can't terminate someone because they reported issues of discrimination, safety or financial fraud through appropriate legal channels.

If you believe that your employer let you go for unlawful reasons, then consider speaking with a lawyer. Your employer will probably try to frame the termination in a lawful manner, but you might still have a case if you can show it was not lawful.

Source: Perkins & Associates, "Do I Need a Wrongful Termination Lawyer?," accessed July 08, 2016

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