Wrongful Termination "Wrongful Termination" is a term that generally refers to a person being fired when they shouldn't have been. It can be a very misleading phrase. Many terminations that people think of as "wrongful" aren't illegal.
At Will In Kansas and Missouri and most other states, employment is "at will." The term technically means no express contract governs the employment relationship. If there is no contract of employment, the employer can fire the employee for no reason or any reason. Similarly, the rule means an employee may quit his/her employment at any time without penalty.
There are two exceptions to this general rule:
Employers cannot discriminate against employees are the basis of age, race, sex, national origin, disability, and a variety of other reasons. Employers cannot discriminate against an employee because he or she has "whistle blown" which is reporting illegal activity of the employer. They also cannot discriminate against an employee for engaging in other protected activities, such as filing workers' compensation claims. If an employer fires an employee because of one of these factors, that is against the law, and the employee can sue.
If any employee has a contract with the employer, the employee probably cannot be fired without just cause. Contracts can be written or implied. (See section on Breach of Contract.) A common way for an employee to have a written contract is to be in a union.
Other than these exceptions and a few rare others, employers can fire employees for any reason, even because they just don't like the employee.
What is Wrongful Termination? If the employer fires an employee because of race or another illegal reason, that is "wrongful termination".
If the employer fires the employee in violation of a contract, that is not, in legal terms,"wrongful termination." It is "breach of contract."