Under what circumstances can you sue for wrongful termination?

UPDATED: Sep 29, 2022

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Under what circumstances can you sue for wrongful termination?

I was hired for 3 days, and on the 4th day, they fired me stating that I was on drugs, falling asleep at my desk and not following instructions. These allegations are untrue. No one complained to or about me within the 3 days. I thought everything was fine. I have 2 witnesses that worked with me but will not testify in my behalf because they don’t want to lose their job. Is there anything I can do?

Asked on September 30, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you don't have a written employment contract limiting the reasons you could be terminated or requiring that the employer follow a certain procedure to terminate you, there really is not such thing as wrongful termination. That is because without an employment contract, you are an employee at will and may be terminated at any time, for any reason at all...since all reasons for termination are proper, none are therefore wrongful. It doesn't matter if you did a great job they could still terminate you.
The exception is, they cannot terminate you because of a protected characteristic, the main ones of which are your race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability. If you think you were terminated for a reason like that, you may have suffered employment discrimination and may have a legal claim. If you believe this is the case, you may wish to speak with an employment law attorney, who can evaluate the facts in detail and help you determine if you have a valid claim and what it might be worth.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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