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Florida Labor & Employment Lawyer > Blog > Wrongful Termination > Wrongful Termination In Florida: Public Policy Violations

Wrongful Termination In Florida: Public Policy Violations


In the context of employment law, the term public policy can be understood as the overriding principles—sometimes unwritten—upon which laws are based. In some cases, a public policy violation could be the basis of an employee’s wrongful termination claim. Here, you will find an overview of wrongful termination based on public policy in Florida.

 Background: The At-Will Employment Standard Governs Employer/Employee Relationships 

Florida is an at-will employment state. As explained simply by Business News Daily, at-will employment is a legal standard that holds that the relationship between employer and employee is fully voluntary. As a general matter, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason, as long as it is not illegal. Along the same lines, an employee can quit or resign for any reason. Of course, this does not mean that employers owe no duties to their employees. They cannot fire, lay off, or otherwise discharge a worker for an illegal reason.

 A Wrongful Termination is an Illegal Firing or Discharge of an Employee 

A wrongful termination is a firing or discharge that is illegal under state or federal law. This can include terminations based on discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract. A wrongful termination can also occur when an employer violates public policy.

 Public Policy Violations May Be Grounds for a Wrongful Termination Claim

 You can bring a wrongful termination claim in Florida if you were removed for reasons that violate public policy. As an example, imagine that an employer requested that an employee engage in an illegal activity in the workplace. The employee refuses to do so, citing the law. Soon after, they are fired from the company. Under Florida’s common law, this could be grounds for a wrongful termination claim. A termination for failure to engage in illegal activity is a public policy violation. In some ways, a public policy violation can be thought of as a “catch-all”—that is to say that an employee may have a wrongful termination claim even if there is no specific state statute that explicitly prohibits the employer from firing them for the reason that it did so.

 Wrongful Termination Claims Based on Public Policy are Especially Complex 

Wrongful termination claims based on public policy are especially complex and may require a thorough understanding of the law and the specific circumstances of the termination. These are highly fact-driven cases. Whether or not a termination is unlawful based on public policy grounds depends on a wide range of different factors, including the employer’s motivation for termination. It is crucial that any worker who believes he or she was subject to a wrongful termination based on public policy has skilled legal representation.

 Get Help From a Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Florida

Although businesses and organizations in Florida have considerable discretion to make their own hiring and firing decisions, they cannot remove a worker for an unlawful reason. If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated in violation of public policy protections, please do not hesitate to contact a Florida wrongful termination attorney for help.

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