Wrongful Termination

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Wrongful Termination Law

Employees who have written employment contracts may be able to bring a claim or lawsuit for wrongful termination in the event they are discharged by their employer.  Employees without written employment contracts may have more limited remedies but still may have an action for wrongful termination. It is important to consult an attorney to learn what rights you may have for wrongful termination.

Generally, Washington is what is described as an “employment at will” state.  In other words, an employer generally can discharge an employee for any reason unless it is in breach of a contract or illegal under the discrimination laws.  (See Employment Discrimination, and Sexual Harassment.)

An employer is generally not required to treat employees equally unless doing so violates a contract or the discrimination laws.  Unless the employer breaches a contract or violates the discrimination laws, your lawyer may not be able to bring a claim on your behalf against your employer for wrongful termination.

There are, however, exceptions to the “employment at will” rule.  In Washington, for example, the right to discharge an at will employee may be limited by an employer’s statements or promises that “create an atmosphere of job security and fair treatment.”  Thompson v. St. Regis Paper Co., 102 Wn.2d 219, 230 (1984).  The employee must have relied on the statements or promises. Your lawyer may be able to bring a wrongful termination claim against your employer on your behalf if you have been discharged in violation of such a statement or promise.
Also, an employer cannot discharge an employee for refusing to participate in or go along with an activity that violates state public policy.  If an employer does so, your lawyer may be able to bring a lawsuit against your employer for wrongful termination or retaliatory discharge.

Allen & Mead attorneys can help you determine if you have a claim for wrongful termination or retaliatory discharge.

Notice: The information presented on this Web site is neither formal legal advice nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. You should consult with an attorney for advice regarding individual legal issues.