Types of Wrongful Termination: Discrimination, Retaliation, and More By Gregory Thyberg on November 01, 2023

work meetingCalifornia is an at-will employment state. This means employers don’t need a reason to terminate employment. Even so, employers may not violate certain state and federal laws that protect workers or they may be at risk of being sued for wrongful termination. 

Wrongful termination lawyer Gregory A. Thyberg helps those who have been wrongfully terminated recover lost wages and hold employers responsible for their actions. If you believe you have a wrongful termination claim, contact our Sacramento, CA, law firm to discuss your legal options.  

What Is Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination is when an employer fires an employee for a reason that violates federal or state labor laws or public policy. When an employee believes their termination was wrongful, they should file a report to the appropriate government administration, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the state’s labor department. An attorney can help with this process and any subsequent steps. 

There are many ways an employer may be guilty of wrongful termination. The following are some of the most common types of wrongful termination to be aware of. 


Discrimination is against the law. Employers cannot fire employees for any discriminatory reason. Sacramento employees who believe they were fired because of their race, sexual orientation, medical condition, or other protected category may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. 

Some protected categories employees cannot be fired for include: 

  • Race 
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Gender identity
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Pregnancy
  • Disability
  • Medical condition


An employer cannot fire an employee in retaliation for reporting an illegal activity, commonly called “whistleblowing,” or filing a discrimination or harassment complaint. 

In order to be considered wrongful termination, the employee’s complaint needs to have been done so through a legally protected avenue, like submitting a formal harassment complaint to an employer or filing a complaint with the appropriate government agency or law enforcement. 

Wrongful Constructive Termination

Wrongful constructive termination is when working conditions are made so intolerable by an employer that an employee feels no other choice but to quit. 

An example of wrongful constructive termination would be if an employee noticed safety violations and reported them, causing the employer to be fined. Afterwards, the employee keeps their job but is given difficult shifts and assignments that makes the employee feel like they have to quit. 

Breach of Contract

Breach of contract is another form of wrongful termination. Breach of contract occurs when an employee has a labor contract with their employer that defines the terms of employment. An employer cannot fire the employee in violation of the contract. 

Violation of Public Policy

Wrongful termination in violation of public policy means that an employer fired an employee for refusing to break the law or for reasons that are against public policy, like reporting a safety violation. 

Contact Thyberg Law

Wrongful termination is wrong and should not be taken lightly. Employers who discriminate or retaliate against employees need to be held accountable. 

If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, you may be able to recover lost wages, lost benefits, emotional distress, and other damages through a wrongful termination lawsuit. To discuss the details of your claim, schedule a consultation with Sacramento wrongful termination lawyer Gregory Thyberg. 

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Thyberg Law

Since 1981, Gregory A. Thyberg has been providing legal services to clients throughout Sacramento. With a focus on employment law, he can help you find a solution when facing discrimination, harassment, or other workplace injustices. Mr. Thyberg is affiliated with organizations like the:

  • California Bar Association
  • San Francisco Trial Lawyer’s Association

If you're experiencing unlawful discrimination in the workplace, request a consultation with Mr. Thyberg or call (916) 204-9173.

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