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What Constitutes Wrongful Termination?

May 31, 2021 | Wrongful Termination


Do you think that you have been fired illegally? In Indiana, there are wrongful termination laws that protect employees from being fired for illegal reasons. Here is a quick guide to what constitutes wrongful termination.

How Does Wrongful Termination Work in Indiana?

If an employee is fired from work for illegal reasons, that employee may file a wrongful termination claim. They must seek guidance from an experienced wrongful termination attorney. These cases are difficult to put together, and those who attempt to represent themselves often fail to make a valid case.

When an employee and their attorney can demonstrate that the employer violated the law in their reasons for firing that employee, the employee may be reinstated, along with back pay, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. The judge typically also issues an injunction (reform order) to the employer.

Pain and suffering are damages paid for non-economic reasons. More simply put, they’re damages paid because being fired caused you undue stress or harm, such as losing an asset because you couldn’t pay the bills. 

Punitive damages are more or less financial punishment placed on your employer for firing you illegally. It puts more money in your pocket and forces your employer to think twice before wrongfully terminating another employee again.

What Is At-Will Employment?

Indiana is an at-will employment state. That means that both employers and employees can terminate employment at any time—for any reason. If you believe that you have been wrongly terminated, at-will employment law will be your employer’s main defense, and it is a strong one.

However, if you and your attorney can clearly explain how that employer broke the law in their decision to fire you, then you can win your wrongful termination case.

Different Kinds of Wrongful Termination

To prove that your employer violated labor laws when firing you, you must demonstrate how one of the reasons below was applicable to your termination. You will need proof, which your attorney can help you gather.

Public Policy

If an employer fired you because you wouldn’t break the law or because you did obey the law, this constitutes illegality based on public policy. For example, a manager may fire an employee because that employee refused to accept their manager’s demand for sexual favors. Additionally, employers that terminate the employment of an accountant refusing to “cook the books” or commit fraud are also violating public policy.


Discrimination is the most common type of wrongful termination. Employers may not discriminate based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.

Breach of Contract

Employment agreements come with a contract. If the employer had to break the contract to fire you, then they are guilty of wrongful termination. This could include breaking the duration of a work contract or failing to follow disciplinary procedures before firing an employee. The contract includes verbal agreements (that can be proven), employee handbooks, and written agreements.

Breach of Good Faith

Employers may fire an employee in an effort to avoid a big payout, such as commissions or a pension. This category also includes non-firing situations, such as deceiving an employee about benefits included in their work as well as transfers that result in an employee not receiving wages/compensation owed.


Some employees are fired for calling their employer out internally or externally on bad behavior (usually illegal). Also, many employees are afraid to file for worker’s compensation for fear that their employer will fire them out of spite. Both of these situations are examples of retaliation and are illegal.


For more information about how an Indiana wrongful termination attorney can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.

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