Your employer generally reserves the right to fire you for any reason as long as you do not have a contract stating otherwise. But the law does offer you some protection from terminations motivated by discrimination or retaliation.
Retaliation occurs when your employer fires you for exercising a protected act, such as reporting a safety violation. But how can you prove your termination was an act of retaliation?
To show retaliation, you would need to show that you had completed a protected act prior to the termination. This can be anything that has laws saying your employer cannot fire you for, such as attending jury duty, asking for an accommodation or becoming a whistleblower. When you do anything allowable under the law that your employer may not like for whatever reason, those actions cannot become the basis for firing you from the job.
Unless your employer can show a history of issues with you or some other justifiable reason for termination, it will be tough to prove your firing was not retaliation. Generally, your employer should have records showing discipline if the reason given is something that led to the firing. If the business is having issues and letting a lot of people go, then that would be a valid reason. Your employer should have a solid reason for firing you soon after you took a protected action. If the termination occurs a long time after your protected act, then that could also become proof it was not retaliation.
The law protects you from wrongful termination due to retaliation because it helps to keep workplaces fair and safe. Without this protection, employees would be afraid to report safety issues, become a whistleblower, take time off for civil duties or ask for accommodations.