Wrongful Discharge Law and Legal Definition
Wrongful discharge is a discharge for reasons that are illegal or that violate public policy. An at-will employee can bring a cause of action against the former employer alleging that the discharge was in violation of:
- state or federal antidiscrimination statutes,
- public policy,
- an implied contract or
- an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 contains broad prohibitions against discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. Discrimination against persons forty years old and over is banned by Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Montana Wrongful Discharge from Employment Act of 1987, limits the rights of employees claiming wrongful discharge, by restating the principle, at-will employee may be dismissed for "any reason considered sufficient by the terminating party." However, a discharge could be considered wrongful under Montana law, if it was in retaliation for the employee's refusal to violate public policy, if it was not for good cause, or if the employer violated the express provisions of the employer's own personnel policy.