Companies should not fire their workers for reasons that violate an employee’s rights. Workers should not face termination for reporting misconduct, acting as a whistleblower, fighting back against discrimination or asking for medical accommodations.
Unfortunately, wrongful termination is exactly what happens to many workers facing harassment on the job, dealing with medical issues or concerned about misconduct in the workplace. Sometimes, businesses will fire someone right away when they make a report or complaint. More often, businesses will use progressive discipline as a way to cover up what is obviously a retaliatory firing.
Any discipline after you speak up is cause for concern
It is very hard to determine what an employer will do when you report an issue. You should be able to count on their adherence to employment laws, including taking action against the person misbehaving rather than the person reporting it.
While the company may not fire you right away, especially if they don’t take disciplinary action against the other workers involved, they might target you instead. Keeping your own records can protect you from this kind of misconduct.
The company might start giving your performance lower reviews without any real cause, or they might start writing you up repeatedly. Especially if they enforce rules against you that they ignore with other workers or rules that they have historically not applied to you, those write-ups may be a way to excuse a future firing.
When you have a clear paper trail showing when you made the report and how the company responded, it will be easier to connect the questionable progressive discipline with your whistleblowing or disability accommodation request. Recognizing wrongful termination when it happens can help you fight back against this common form of employer misconduct.