Under most circumstances, both an employer and an employee are free to end the working relationship at will. That means that the employee can quit whenever and for whatever reason he or she chooses. Similarly, the employer can fire a worker for nearly any reason—or, for no reason at all. However, both California and federal law place some restrictions on an employer’s freedom to terminate an employee. If you believe you were fired for some illegal reason, Frontier can help.
You can be terminated for any number of reasons—poor performance, bad attendance, or simply not fitting the company culture. What employers cannot do, however, is target your identity or use your job as a way to leverage the unlawful conduct they want.
The four general categories or wrongful termination include:
Discriminatory termination based on membership in or association with a protected class
Retaliatory discharge in response to a protected action by the worker, such as filing complaints for harassment or wage violations
Tortious wrongful termination, which is termination in violation of public policy
Breach of an employment contract or the employer’s own policies and procedures
Types of Wrongful Termination
Each of the limitations on termination discussed above arises under a specific statute or principle of law.
Both California and federal law prohibit employers from terminating workers on the basis of membership in or association with a protected class.
Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex
The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), which prohibits discrimination of workers and applicants aged 40 and older
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which protects workers and applicants covered by these and other federal statutes, and adds classifications not protected under federal law
The FEHA prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of:
Gender, gender identity, or gender expression
Military or veteran status
If you believe you were terminated based on one of the characteristics listed above, an experienced California wrongful termination attorney may be your best resource. Schedule a free consultation with our compassionate employment law attorneys today to learn more about your rights after a discriminatory termination.
Both the California legislature and the federal government understand that the fear of retaliatory action by an employer can prevent employees from reporting unlawful behavior in the workplace. When employees are afraid to step forward, everyone suffers, and the employee facing discrimination is helpless to protect themselves. Employees who witness safety violations and do not report them leave other workers—and, perhaps, the public—at risk.
For example, the California Labor Code protects employees who file or threaten to file claims or complaints with the Labor Commissioner, or who institute or cooperate with any proceeding relating to rights under the jurisdiction of the Labor Commissioner. Federal law provides similar but more limited protections.
Termination in Violation of Public Policy
California law creates a cause of action known as “Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy,” which provides a remedy for any employee who was discharged for reasons that go against an established public policy.
For example, an employee who is terminated for reporting ongoing safety violations might have a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy, since public policy supports the reporting and remedying of dangerous conditions in the workplace.
Taking the First Steps following Wrongful Termination
If you feel you’ve been wrongfully terminated, you will want to get knowledgeable guidance right away. Here are a few steps to familiarize yourself with:
Document exactly what occurred, with date, time, and people present
Make note of any other witnesses who may have relevant information
Carefully limit what you say in response to notice of termination
Do not allow your employer to rush you into signing anything without consulting an attorney
Hire our Employment lawyer:
Our Los Angeles employment lawyers are knowledgeable to analyze your case and help determine if you have a valid case or not.
File a Compliant:
Our team of skilled attorneys can help fill out the correct forms and ensure that your filing documents contain no errors and file the compliant.
Certain types of wrongful termination claims must first be submitted to a government agency for review, and the deadlines for submission of such claims can be much tighter than the timeline for a civil lawsuit. Therefore, it is essential that you educate yourself about your rights and options as soon as possible.
Take the first step toward protecting your rights today. Schedule a free consultation with one of our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys by calling (877) 423-1444 or contacting us online.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.