Commercial Litigation Lawyer Washington D.C.

Losing a job is always a challenging experience, but it becomes even more difficult when the termination seems unfair or unjust. Understanding wrongful termination is crucial for employees who suspect that their dismissal may not have been lawful. This blog post aims to shed light on what wrongful termination is, common scenarios where it occurs, and steps to take if you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated.

What Is Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination occurs when an employer dismisses an employee in violation of federal or state laws, an employment contract, or the company’s own policies. While the term is often used in a broad sense, it specifically refers to firings that breach legal or contractual obligations.

Common Scenarios Of Wrongful Termination

  1. Discrimination: One of the most prevalent forms of wrongful termination involves discrimination. Laws such as the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act protect employees from being fired based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. If an employee is terminated because of any of these protected characteristics, it constitutes wrongful termination.
  2. Retaliation: Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who engage in legally protected activities. This includes filing a complaint about workplace harassment, reporting safety violations, or participating in an investigation of discrimination. If an employee is fired for exercising these rights, it is considered wrongful termination.
  3. Violation of Public Policy: Termination is also wrongful if it violates public policy. For example, an employee cannot be fired for taking time off to serve on a jury, voting, or taking family or medical leave as allowed by law.
  4. Breach of Contract: If there is a written, implied, or oral contract that specifies the terms of employment, and the employer breaches this contract by terminating the employee without just cause, it can be considered wrongful termination. This includes violations of specific clauses in an employment agreement or company policies that imply job security.

Steps To Take If You Believe You Were Wrongfully Terminated

If you suspect that your termination was wrongful, there are several important steps to take:

  1. Document Everything: Keep detailed records of all interactions with your employer leading up to and including your termination. This includes emails, performance reviews, and notes from meetings. Documentation is essential for substantiating your claims.
  2. Review Your Employment Contract and Company Policies: Carefully review your employment contract, if you have one, as well as the company’s handbook or policy documents. Understanding these terms can help determine whether any were violated.
  3. Consult an Attorney: Employment laws are complex, and a Washington D.C. commercial litigation lawyer can provide valuable guidance. They can help assess the validity of your claim, explain your rights, and navigate the legal process.
  4. File a Complaint with the EEOC or State Agency: If your termination involves discrimination or retaliation, you may need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a similar state agency. They can investigate your claim and potentially mediate a resolution or take legal action on your behalf.


Experiencing wrongful termination can be deeply unsettling, but understanding your rights and the legal protections available to you is empowering. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, we at Eric Siegel Law are glad to assist you.