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When is termination not wrongful?

Getting let go from the workplace is hurtful, and it's natural to feel like an employer did you a disservice if you are laid off or fired. Many people talk about wrongful termination within the few days following the loss of a job, often out of shock or anger. In reality, there are many reasons that an employer can let you go and only certain circumstances result in successful wrongful termination claims.

An employer can almost always let people go if they are not doing their jobs. If an employer can show that you are not living up to the expectations of the job -- even if you are trying your best to do so -- they can typically terminate you for lack of performance. Just because you show up every day and give it 100 percent doesn't make this a wrongful termination.

An employer can also let people go -- even if they are performing -- due to economic or financial reasons. You can be the best employee the company has, but if they can't afford to pay you, they can't keep you on as an employee.

In some cases, an employer can let you go because you don't work well within a certain environment or team. This isn't the same thing as letting you go because they don't like your race, gender or nationality; it may be that the team dynamic simply doesn't work.

Wrongful termination is different than these types of circumstances. Wrongful termination is usually a retaliatory act or an act of discrimination. If you believe that you have lost your job because of your race, gender, age or religion -- or because you reported a safety violation or other concern -- talk with a lawyer about your options for seeking reparations.

Source: FindLaw, "Retaliation and Wrongful Termination," accessed April 14, 2017

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