Being fired is mentally traumatic for almost everyone. After all we spend at least one third of our day working or preparing for work. Adding to the trauma is that suddenly you have to look for other sources for money.
The various State Legislatures have tried to even things up and give the employee some rights when they are wrongfully terminated. Here is how things work, but keep in mind you really need an Attorney to explain them to you because they vary from State to State.
If you are what is known as an employee at will the boss can let you go for almost any reason as long as the reason is not illegal. An employee at will is a person who is working for the company but doesn’t have a written contract with the company. The courts however very often find a contract between the parties based upon the conduct of the company. When you are a contract employee you can only be fired for good cause.
Keep in mind, that even if you are an employee at will you can’t be fired for any of these illegal reasons: Race, Nationality, Religion, Sex, Age, Sexual Orientation, Retaliation, Refusing to Commit an Illegal Act, (in a few States) Pregnancy, Medical Condition and Disability. Being fired for any of these illegal reasons may net you a pretty penny.
If there is a manual governing hiring and firing procedure it must be followed by the employer. Issues of vacation pay and severance packages are always negotiable.