California is what is known as an “at-will” state with regards to employment, which means that employers can fire employees for any reason or for no reason at all, unless the reason is unlawful. The employee bears the burden of proving that he or she was wrongfully terminated or that an employer retaliated against the employee for asserting his/her rights. There are certain things that can make a termination both wrongful and unlawful. Generally speaking, an employee cannot be terminated due to being a member of a protected category, or for engaging in a protected activity.
Employers generally cannot terminate employment based on age, race, sex, religion, color, sexual orientation, marital status, association, physical or mental disability, or other legally protected categories, as terminations due to these characteristics would be wrongful. Employers also cannot terminate an employee because they engaged in a protected activity. This could include an employee who engaged in whistleblowing by reporting the employer’s suspected unlawful activity (blew the whistle), reported a safety complaint, reported that they have not properly been paid with their wages, they have not been receiving their meal and/or rest breaks, and more.
Wrongful termination can happen in two ways: actual termination and constructive termination. A constructive termination is a situation in which job conditions deteriorate and/or become hostile to the point at which you no longer feel that you can work there and instead feel forced to resign. In other words, this occurs when the employee quits because the conditions are so intolerable that they have been left with no option other than to quit. The law states that if conditions or treatment are so severe that a reasonable person could not consider continuing to work in the environment any further, then a person may quit. However, in these situations, employees are expected to use any available reporting mechanism to attempt to resolve their employment issues before quitting. If an employee has complained of the intolerable environment and nothing changes, or it gets even worse, an employee may quit and seek damages as compensation for their lost wages.
Often, when employees have been wrongfully terminated, they may also have other claims against their employers of which they aren’t aware. The employer may not have complied with federal law about overtime, minimum wage, and other legal requirements. An employee may have a right to sue for unpaid overtime or wages for the period of time he or she was employed.
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, give us a call at 855-IM-FIRED for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys have substantial experience with these types of cases representing individuals who have been wrongfully terminated.
There are no up-front costs and you do not pay any attorneys’ fees unless we get a recovery in the case.
Contact our Los Angeles California employment attorneys and lawyers now for all of your employee rights’ needs!
- Age Discrimination
- Sex/Gender Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Military Status Discrimination
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Battery
- Hostile Work Environment
- Whistleblower Violations
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination (LGBTQIA+)
- Race/National Origin Discrimination
- Religious Discrimination
- Family Medical Leave Act/California Family Rights Act Violations
- Failure to Pay Minimum Wages
- Unsafe Workplace
- Unpaid Wages
- Unpaid Overtime
- Meal Period And Rest Break Violations
- Misclassification as an Independent Contractor
- Wrongful Termination