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What is wrongful termination, and what can you do about it?

On Behalf of | Jul 22, 2023 | Employment Law

In today’s competitive job market, employees in Hawaii, like anywhere else, deserve fair treatment and protection from wrongful termination. Wrongful termination encompasses any termination that violates employment laws or contractual agreements. 

It’s essential for employees to be aware of their rights and options if they believe they have been wrongfully terminated. Keep scrolling for a comprehensive understanding of wrongful termination and the steps you can take to address this issue.

What constitutes wrongful termination?

Wrongful termination can take various forms; for instance, if you get fired based on your religion, race, national origin or disability, it is considered wrongful termination. 

It is also unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee as retaliation for engaging in protected activities such as: 

  • Reporting workplace misconduct 
  • Filing a complaint 
  • Participating in an investigation

Moreover, when an employer violates the terms of an employment contract, it can result in a wrongful termination claim. But more importantly, if an employee is fired for exercising a legal right or refusing to participate in illegal activities, it may also be classified as wrongful termination.

What to do if you’re wrongfully terminated

The first and most important action is to collect any pertinent information related to your employment, termination and any discriminatory or retaliatory actions. This may include emails, performance reviews, witness statements or any written communication that supports your claim.

This will enable you to file a complaint with the appropriate government agency. The Hawaii Civil Rights Commission (HCRC) handles complaints related to employment discrimination. At the same time, the Hawaii Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) deals with wage and hour violations and certain other employment claims.

Wrongful termination is a consequential issue that can profoundly affect an individual’s career and well-being. Thankfully, various laws help protect employees from discrimination, retaliation and other unfair employment practices.