After losing your job you may feel frustrated, disappointed or anxious. These feelings are only natural, but maybe you feel something else, too. Maybe you are left wondering if your termination is even legal.

Most workers in Wisconsin and Illinois are employed at-will. This means your employer can fire you and you can quit your job at any time for any legal reason or no reason. There are, however, several illegal reasons for termination.

You may have been fired illegally if you lost your job because of your race, sex, religion, age, disability or sexual orientation. Your termination may also be illegal if you were fired because you opposed discrimination or illegal practices in the workplace.

Other wrongful causes for termination include:

  • If your termination breaks the terms of an employment contract.
  • If you were terminated because you chose to take protected time off, such as maternity leave.
  • If your employer did not follow written policy for disciplinary procedures.

If you think you were fired for an illegal reason, a wrongful termination lawsuit may be a beneficial option for you. However, if your termination was an act of discrimination, you may first need to file a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Equal Rights Division or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Although there are several illegal reasons for termination, not every unfair reason is illegal. It is important to understand the difference in order to find your best way forward.