Firing Restrictions in Written Laws

What's one of the easiest ways to find yourself defending a wrongful discharge lawsuit? Fire an employee under circumstances that violate a fair employment law. Numerous federal, state, and even local laws restrict an employer's right to fire an employee for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons.


Many fair employment laws exempt certain businesses. For example, it is not uncommon for such laws to provide exemptions for employers having some minimum number of employees. However, merely because you qualify for a law's exemption does not mean that you're free to fire those employees whom the law was designed to protect without any risk of being sued. Courts can, effectively, extend the law to you under the "public policy" theory. The fact that a law protecting a certain class of employees was adopted generally indicates a public policy in favor of that protection.