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Were you terminated from your job legally?
Here are the things you cannot be fired for!
If you were just fired, or sense the day is coming, your emotions are likely high. Your feelings may be hurt, you may be afraid for your future, or you may just be outright mad and feel you have been treated unfairly or worse, outside of your legal rights.
You are not alone. According to National unemployment statistics, An average of 54,966 people are laid off or fired EACH DAY in America. But there are laws to protect them.
What you need to know
Under the employment-at-will doctrine, an employer can generally fire an employee for any reason or for no reason at all. However, employers cannot terminate employees for reasons that would violate federal, state, or local anti-discrimination laws.
An employer also cannot fire an employee for reasons that would violate public policy or in retaliation. For example, an employer cannot fire an employee because that employee filed a discrimination complaint against the employer or reported a health and safety violation to OSHA.
Federal Antidiscrimination Laws
A number of federal laws prohibit employers from firing employees for discriminatory reasons:
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Under Title VII, employers with at least 15 employees cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects workers aged 40 and older from discrimination on the basis of age. The law applies to employers with 20 or more employees.
If you are over 40 and were fired but replaced by a younger worker, your employer may have to provide valid reason (and proof) such as poor job performance.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, and it applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including hiring, firing, promotion, leave, and benefits. The law applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in any aspect of employment, including applications, testing, hiring, firing, job assignments, leave, and compensation. The ADA applies to employers with 15 or more employees.
State and Local Antidiscrimination Laws
In addition to the protections offered by federal law, employees in many states and municipalities benefit from additional laws that prohibit discrimination. For example, some states prohibit employers from discriminating against workers based on veteran status, use of medical marijuana, or receipt of public benefits.