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What is Wrongful Discharge?

Unlawful termination, also called wrongful termination or wrongful discharge, describes a situation in which an employer fires an employee because of an illegal reason. Being terminated for any of the items listed below may constitute unlawful termination:


  • Discrimination: The employer cannot terminate employment because the employee is a certain race, nationality, religion, sex, age, or is disabled or pregnant.

  • Retaliation: An employer cannot fire an employee because the employee filed a claim of discrimination or is participating in an investigation for discrimination. In the United States, this "retaliation" is forbidden under civil rights law.

  • Employee's refusal to commit an illegal act: An employer is not permitted to fire an employee because the employee refuses to commit an act that is illegal.

  • Employer is not following own termination procedures: Often, the employee handbook or company policy outlines a procedure that must be followed before an employee is terminated. If the employer fires an employee without following this procedure, the employee may have a claim for unlawful termination.


Unlawful termination will tend to arise first as a claim by the employee so dismissed. A proven wrongful dismissal will tend to lead to two main remedies: reinstatement of the dismissed employee, and/or monetary compensation for the wrongfully dismissed.


A related situation is constructive discharge, in which an employee feels no choice but to resign from employment for reasons imposed by the employer.

The Law Firm of David A. Young, LLC represents executives and employees who have been unlawfully terminated throughout the State of Ohio. Attorney David Young has been certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a Specialist in the area of Labor and Employment Law. Attorney Young has also been recognized as a Super Lawyer in the State of Ohio for the years 2009 through 2013.


If you feel you have been unlawfully terminated, The Law Firm of David A. Young, LLC provides a free, no-obligation consultation.

     I was extremely nervous about seeing an attorney for my discrimination case. David and his staff immediately put me at ease. They told me the pros and cons of my case and what I should expect to happen. He explained everything to me very clearly. Whenever I had a question I could call his office and get a response within an hour. I was happy with the end result but even if I had not been I would not hesitate to refer someone to him. I feel he did his absolute best for me at all times.


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