Illegal Reasons for Termination: Recognizing Wrongful Termination Practices

Award-Winning California Employment Law Firm Since 2012
On Behalf of Law Offices of Eric A. Boyajian | June 15, 2023 Wrongful Termination

Facing termination from work is never easy. While many factors are often justified, there are a handful of cases where the termination could be illegal. If you feel like injustice has come to pass and that you have lost your job unfairly or unnecessarily, you may have a case against your employer. Holding companies accountable for wrongful termination is achievable if the circumstances are right and the evidence supports the claim. Read on below to find out more about it.

What Classes as Illegal Termination?

There are seven main reasons why an employer would be held accountable for illegal termination practices. If they are found to have violated any of these laws, they are vulnerable to employee lawsuits and a loss of reputation. So, what are they?


If you believe that your job has ended as a direct result of employer discrimination, this should be a straightforward case as long as you have the evidence to support the narrative. There are a number of protected categories that an employer must respect and cannot discriminate against. If they end a contract, and you believe it is because of race, gender, religion, age, or disability, then talk to our team and be prepared to state why.


Whistleblowing has been in the media a lot in recent years, but did you know it is illegal to dismiss an employee if they report workplace violations? This is essentially what whistleblowing is, and it is always viewed as a serious thing. When you work somewhere, you have an expectation that you will be kept safe in the work building before, during and after your shift. If the employer is not upholding their part of this, or breaking any health and safety laws, and you reported it leading to a dismissal, you have a strong case against them.


Contracts are a common thing for salaried positions, and indeed every employer must offer a contract to any employee. This is to protect themselves legally, but also so that you have some protection within that picture too. Your employer has a responsibility to establish just cause as per the contract and if they fail to do this, you are within your rights to challenge it.

Your Citizenship

Employers are prohibited from terminating a role because of citizenship or place of birth. When this happens, you are justified in bringing legal proceedings to their door.

Lie Detectors

It is fairly common for things to happen at work that require investigation. Perhaps it is some missing money or a mishap on a project, but whatever the case, an employer may ask you to sit and take a lie detector test. You do not have to do this if you do not want to. However, they may then proceed to justify a termination on this reason alone as an unwillingness to participate may be seen as an admission of guilt.

Employer Illegal Activity

Under no circumstances should you ever be penalized for refusing to be complicit in illegal activity. Whether that is fraud or some other mal-informed activity, a business should not and cannot illicit collaboration or endorsement from an employee. If you are being put in this position, you are being blackmailed. Saying no should never lead to you losing your job, but it often does. It will take courage, but you can hold them accountable.


When you report an issue at work and it has direct implications, for instance, an employer is expected to change their practices or adhere to an employment law such as paying fair wages, they may retaliate. This retaliation, more often than not, results in you being dismissed from the role entirely. This is illegal and entirely unfair, and you will be able to seek justice under these circumstances.

What Laws are Relevant?

There are five protective laws that all American citizens can use to back up their wrongful termination claims. These are all designed to protect employees from illegal terminations and have guided many a lawsuit since they were created.

  1. The Americans with Disabilities Act
  2. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  3. Family and Medical Leave Act
  4. Title VII Civil Rights Act
  5. Occupational Safety and Health Act

If you can show with reasonable evidence that any of these were violated, you have a strong case from the off.

What Should You Do Next?

Where there is just cause for pursuing an illegal termination lawsuit, your attorney will support you in this act. The best place to start is to give us a call and explain your story so that we get a sense of all of the facts and begin to understand any reasons behind the dismissal. Painting a clear picture will mean asking a lot of questions, so be prepared with answers. Your job will be to collect evidence, though it is likely that you already have some if you’ve got this far into the process already.

What Kind of Evidence?

The first thing an attorney will look closely at is your employment contract. If there are any reasons within this that are obvious for the lawsuit to carry on, this is a great starting point. Though it doesn’t always have all of the answers, it is still a relevant document. Further to this, any correspondence you have with management or HR at the place of work is helpful, especially if it implicitly exposes discrimination or another reason for illegal termination. Witness statements are great, especially if other members of the team feel as though you are justified and have noticed any form of misconduct on the part of the employer too.

Wrongful termination can have devastating consequences on your professional life. If you don’t think your company has acted fairly, take the first steps towards justice.

So, if you have been dismissed from your professional role, and you see fault in the termination, call us today on the number below to discuss exactly what can be done. The offices are open for appointments too.

Find us here: 450 N Brand Blvd #613, Glendale, CA 91203

Call us today for a free consultation, on (818) 839-5969