Title VII is mainly concerned with the violation of express or implied agreements involving employees, which means that employers cannot release employees from their employment if the termination is unreasonable or discriminatory. If an employer fires you for discriminatory reasons, they may be guilty of wrongful termination. Sex, race, national origin, religion, and several other characteristics can come into play under this umbrella.
In addition to the right to terminate an employee at will, employers are prevented from terminating an employee for discriminatory reasons or retaliation for reporting illegal activities.
At the center of nearly all wrongful termination controversies is the employment-at-will doctrine. It is the general principle under the law of most states that each employer has the right to hire and dismiss employees at will. The employee or employer may terminate the relationship at any time, with or without cause, and without incurring liability for wrongful termination.
The employment-at-will doctrine governs the terms of employment when there is no formal agreement providing otherwise. Under this doctrine, the employer or employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, with or without cause or notice.
Generally, absent an employment contract, employers may terminate their workers' employment at any time and for any reason as long as the cause is not discriminatory or coercive and does not violate some other state or federal provision. However, employees may have an express contract or, more often, an implied warranty or covenant.
The boss's decision to terminate a worker who had previously been late once, but arrived slightly late for the third day in a row, was unfairly punitive. The boss ended a worker who had not breached any term or condition of her contract, and the worker can bring a claim for wrongful termination.
According to US News, approximately 98% of employees in the US workforce are at-will employees and can be terminated at any time without warning or reason. If you quit your job, your employer can terminate you without cause.
However, quitting your job doesn't always mean you're fired. It could create a very different legal result called "constructive discharge."
Employers cannot fire employees without a good reason. An employer can even fire an employee without realizing it. When an employer causes working conditions to become so intolerable that an employee quits in response, the employee's resignation will be treated as a termination. This is a legal concept called a constructive discharge.
Sometimes employees are let go because of discrimination, defamation, or retaliation. And then, there are situations when an employee is fired for incomplete, low-quality, or late work.