Florida Is An At Will Employment State-But Wrongful Termination Still Exists

Dec 28, 2021

Welcome to Baytowne Reporting, your reliable source of information on all legal matters pertaining to the state of Florida. In this article, we will discuss the intricacies of wrongful termination in Florida, despite it being an at-will employment state. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated or are simply seeking to understand your rights as an employee, you've come to the right place. Read on to find valuable information and insights into this important aspect of employment law.

Understanding At-Will Employment

Before delving into the realms of wrongful termination, it is crucial to first grasp the concept of at-will employment. In Florida, as in many other states, the default employment arrangement is at-will. This means that both the employer and the employee have the right to terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause, and without prior notice.

While this may seem like a vast freedom for employers, it is important to note that there are exceptions and limitations to the at-will doctrine, one of them being wrongful termination. Employers cannot terminate an employee for reasons that violate state or federal laws, public policy, or employment contracts. Understanding the specifics surrounding wrongful termination is essential to protecting your rights as an employee.

Types of Wrongful Termination

Wrongful terminations can occur for various reasons, and it is crucial to discern which category your particular case falls under. Let's explore some of the common types of wrongful termination:

Discrimination-based terminations:

Employment discrimination based on characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion, national origin, disability, or pregnancy is strictly prohibited by federal and state laws. If you believe that you were terminated due to any of these protected characteristics, you may have grounds for filing a wrongful termination claim.

Retaliation-based terminations:

Retaliation occurs when an employer terminates an employee in response to their exercise of legal rights, such as reporting workplace harassment, filing a workers' compensation claim, or participating in a labor union. If you can establish a causal connection between your protected activity and the subsequent termination, your case of wrongful termination becomes stronger.

Contract-based terminations:

While most employment relationships in Florida are at-will, some employees may have explicit employment contracts that outline specific terms and conditions for termination. If an employer violates these contractual arrangements by terminating an employee without just cause or proper notice, it constitutes wrongful termination.

Protections Against Wrongful Termination

Florida law provides certain protections to employees against wrongful termination. It is important to understand your rights to take appropriate action if you find yourself in such a situation. Let's explore some of the key legal protections available:

Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA):

The FCRA prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status. If your termination falls under any of these categories, you may be able to file a claim with the Florida Commission on Human Relations (FCHR) or the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Whistleblower protections:

Florida provides certain safeguards to individuals who report illegal activities or wrongdoing in their workplace. Whistleblowers are shielded from retaliation and wrongful termination if they make good faith reports of violations of laws, regulations, or company policies.

Public policy exceptions:

In very limited circumstances, if the termination violates public policy, it may be classified as wrongful termination. For example, an employer terminating an employee for reporting violations of health and safety regulations or refusing to engage in illegal activities can be considered wrongful termination.

Steps to Take if You Believe You Have Been Wrongfully Terminated

If you suspect that you have been wrongfully terminated, it is vital to take appropriate steps to protect your rights. Consider the following actions:

Document everything:

Keep a record of all relevant documents, such as employment contracts, performance reviews, emails, and any evidence that supports your claim of wrongful termination. These documents can serve as valuable evidence if you decide to take legal action.

Consult an employment attorney:

Seeking legal advice from an experienced employment attorney can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case. They can guide you through the process, analyze the evidence, and provide you with the best possible strategy to pursue your claim.

File a complaint:

If your attorney determines that you have a valid claim, they can assist you in filing a complaint with the appropriate agency, such as the FCHR or EEOC. These agencies will investigate your claim and take appropriate action against your employer if warranted.


In conclusion, while Florida remains an at-will employment state, wrongful termination is still a reality that many employees face. Understanding your rights as an employee and the legal protections available to you is crucial in navigating the complexities of employment law. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, we urge you to consult with a knowledgeable employment attorney who can provide you with personalized advice and guide you through the process of seeking justice. Remember, at Baytowne Reporting, we are committed to empowering individuals with the information they need to protect their rights in the workplace.

Marcus Glover
This article provides valuable insight into wrongful termination laws in Florida. Informative read!
Oct 7, 2023