You were recently fired for something that you did not do. Or, maybe you did do something, but your employer has no proof. Is it legal to let an employee go without any proof of a wrongdoing? In short, yes, it is legal.

A majority of employees in the United States are employees “at will.” This means that an employer can terminate an employee for any reason, including lack of proof, as long as the reason is not discriminatory, retaliatory or another reason protected by law. If you feel that there is another reason you were terminated, i.e. discrimination, you are going to have to show that your employer’s reason for firing you is untrue. You will have to prove that you were terminated for an illegal reason.


If you have proof that your were fired because of your race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, or genetic information, you should speak with an employment attorney as soon as possible. It is illegal to terminate an employee for any of those reasons. Before filing a lawsuit, your attorney will help you file a discrimination complaint with the state or federal agency and help you gather proof to support your case. Time is of the essence as it may get more difficult to gather proof as time goes by.


Your employer cannot terminate you for participating in legally protected activities. If you were fired for refusing to engage in criminal activities, reporting your employer for participating in illegal activity, or because you filed a discrimination or harassment complaint, you should speak with an employment attorney. You may be entitled to damages for being wrongfully terminated.

Violations of Public Policy

There are several state and federal laws that protect employees from being fired as a matter of public policy. Some of these include being fired for taking time off to vote, time off for jury duty, military service and more. Public policy laws vary by state and it is best to ask an attorney in the state in which you live.

If you believe that you were terminated for any of the above reasons, you should contact an employment attorney. If you were fired for something that your employer thinks you may have done and there is no underlying reason protected by law, it is legal.

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It provides general information and is not intended and should not be construed as professional advice. The author is not your attorney, accountant, financial planner or any other professional and no professional-client relationship is created. We do not represent that the information provided is accurate or up-to-date as laws and regulations are always changing. If you have an issue that requires professional help, you should contact the appropriate professional to help you on your specific set of facts. Please read the Terms and Conditions for additional information.


Alicia Lillegard, Esq.

Alicia Lillegard has over 20 years of experience in employment law, human resources and insurance, working with with large blue chip companies, startups, and not-for-profit organizations. Ms. Lillegard is currently Managing Director of New England Human Capital, a human resources consultancy which advises small and midsize businesses on Human Resources compliance, including employment procedures, employee relations and employee benefits. She holds degrees from Loyola University Chicago and John Marshall Law School.

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