What Is Wrongful Termination?
In the State of California, firing an employee is generally legal. The relationship between an employer and an employee is usually “at-will” in California. This means that in the event that there is no employment contract, the employee or the employer can terminate the working relationship at any time, with or without any prior notice or cause.
However, there are some exceptions to California’s at-will presumption. If the termination occurred due to illegal or wrong reasons, it may be considered wrongful termination. An employee may file a wrongful termination claim in court if they believe that they’ve been “illegally” fired from their employment.
Losing your job can be a difficult and overwhelming experience. Such a job loss could be even more painful if you were fired illegally. An experienced attorney can review your unique situation and determine how to sue your employer and recover damages.
When Is It Wrongful to Terminate an Employee?
The common grounds for filing a lawsuit under California wrongful termination laws include:
Discrimination – Firing an employee on the basis of color, race, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or genetic information
Retaliation – Firing an employee for filing a legal complaint against the employer or for reporting discrimination or sexual harassment at the workplace
Violates Public Policy – Firing an employee for leaving work for public policy reasons, such as taking time off work to vote, attend mandatory jury duty, or serve in the military
Written Promises – A written contract or agreement promising an employee job security; should a written promise exist, termination of employment may be unlawful
Implied Promises – An informal agreement based on what the employer said or did; if there is an implied promise, termination of employment may be illegal
Whistleblowing – Firing an employee for reporting suspected violations of laws, regulations, and public policy at the workplace
Constructive Discharge – Making an employee resign by subjecting them to extremely difficult or unbearable working conditions
Can I Sue My Employer?
Under California law, an employee who has been fired for illegal reasons can sue their employer to recover damages by:
- Filing a civil case against the employer in California court
- Filing a complaint with a federal agency
A skilled attorney can explore your available legal options, enlighten you about the possible remedies, and determine how to proceed with your wrongful termination claims.
The following damages may be recovered by filing wrongful termination claims in California:
- Job reinstatement
- Lost wages and benefits
- Compensation for emotional distress or pain and suffering arising from your illegal discharge
- Punitive damages to further punish the employer
- Injunction against future illegal conduct
- Attorney fees
How Legal Counsel Can Help
Employees who have been fired illegally may be eligible to file a wrongful termination claim in California court. An experienced employment law attorney can advocate for your legal rights and help establish fault in your wrongful termination case.
At Robinson Bradford LLP, we are committed to offering knowledgeable legal guidance, advocacy, and vigorous representation to employees who have been fired illegally. Using our extensive understanding of the laws addressing liability in wrongful termination cases, we can guide you through the usually complex legal proceedings. Our attorneys will fight diligently to protect your rights, help hold your employer liable, seek fair compensation to cover damages, or get your employment reinstated.