Wrongful termination is the involuntary termination of an employee in violation of the law or an employment contract.
Wrongful termination cases can be difficult to prove. California, like most states, is an “at will” employment state. “At will” means an employee can quit any time and an employer can fire an employee at any time for any reason (other than discrimination). Employers and employees are free to change the “at-will” presumption by means of an employment agreement. However, an agreement that does not address the “at-will” status, will not change this presumption. In such case, the employee can be discharged without warning, without a hearing and without a reason.
However, there are important exceptions to the “at will” rule:
- An employee’s rights are protected under federal and state employment discrimination laws. Therefore, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, national origin, gender, age, disability or perceived disability, pregnancy status, marital status or sexual orientation.
- An employer also cannot terminate an employee in retaliation for filing a complaint against the employer or for reporting the employer’s illegal conduct.
Hence, you may have a valid claim if you have been wrongfully terminated:
- In violation of federal or state anti-discrimination laws
- In violation of labor laws, including collective bargaining laws
- As a form of sexual harassment
- In violation of an employment agreement
- In retaliation for having filed a complaint or claim against your employer
- For reporting an illegal act committed by your employer
We take plaintiff’s employment law cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win. Please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your case.