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Is Wyoming an Employment At Will State?

— May 24, 2022

While your employer can fire you for no reason, he cannot do that for an illegal reason as this constitutes wrongful termination. 

Almost all American states, Wyoming included, use the employment at will principle. This means that an employee can be fired without a reason and without warning. At the same time, employees can decide to quit their job whenever they want. At first look, it may seem like there’s basically no job security in Wyoming and you’re at the mercy of your employer, but that is not so. There are various exceptions to the at-will rule and if your employer terminates you unlawfully, you can fight back and claim damages. If you think you were unfairly dismissed, it would be best to talk to an experienced Wyoming employment lawyer to see what legal options you have.

What is wrongful termination in Wyoming?

While your employer can fire you for no reason, he cannot do that for an illegal reason as this constitutes wrongful termination. 

Most wrongful termination cases in Wyoming have to do with discrimination. Public and private employees in Wyoming are protected against discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Employment Practices Act. The law prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, national origin, etc.

The anti-discrimination laws cover all stages of employment from the hiring procedure to firing.

If you believe you were fired because of a protected characteristic, contact a good employment lawyer in Cheyenne, WY, and file a complaint. In such cases, it is usually the employer that will have to show that the protected characteristic you invoke played no part in their decision to fire you.

Lady Justice; image by Ezequiel_Octaviano, via
Lady Justice; image by Ezequiel_Octaviano, via

As an example, they will have to prove that they did not fire you because you are over the age of 40 and they would have terminated you no matter your age. Your lawyer can help disprove their allegations. If your boss had been saying for some time that you should be contemplating retirement or that you no longer have what it takes for the job, your lawyer can use such statements as proof that your employer was biased against people your age.

Can I be fired if I make a sexual harassment complaint?
Sexual harassment is illegal in Wyoming as it is considered a form of discrimination based on sex. The law defines two types of sexual harassment. 

  • In quid pro quo cases it is a supervisor or manager who pressures an employee into having sex.
  • Hostile work environment refers to those situations where an employee is sexually harassed by coworkers.

In both cases, the first step is to file an internal complaint. The employer is required by law to investigate your complaint and take appropriate measures to remedy the situation. If you are fired after making a complaint, that is considered retaliation and it’s strictly prohibited under Wyoming law. You will have to see a sexual harassment lawyer and file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

At this stage, you can claim damages for the emotional suffering as well as economic damages for the lost wages. You can also ask to be reinstated if you want your old job back. 

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