It is illegal to fire someone for
- taking time off for family or medical leave as allowed by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
- reporting illegal activities at work, such as discrimination or health and safety violations;
- applying for workers’ compensation;
- refusing to work under dangerous conditions; or
- being a victim of family violence.
It is also illegal to fire someone because of their
- race/color, national origin, religion;
- gender, gender identity, marital status, sexual orientation;
- age, pregnancy, or disability.
Example: A white employee arrives late to work and is warned not to do it again, while a black worker arrives late and is fired. The firing may be illegal discrimination.
Do I have other protections against getting fired?
If you are a union member, your contract may give you extra protections. Most union contracts say the employer must have a very good reason (or good cause) to fire you. Talk to your union representative.
The firing could be illegal if it goes against a written contract, a handbook policy, or a set of rules (even if the rules are not in writing).
Example: If your handbook says a person gets three warnings but you are fired after the first warning, the firing may be illegal.