What Is Wrongful Termination?
California is an at-will employment state, which means that your employer can fire you without cause or for any lawful reason. However, if your employer fires you for an unlawful reason, you have the right to sue them for wrongful termination.
What Is Considered Wrongful Termination?
When an employer violates employment law when they fire an employee, this is considered wrongful termination. Many wrongful termination claims involve discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
It is illegal to fire an employee because of their protected characteristics like race, age, gender or national origin. If an employee complains about discrimination and harassment, their employer is not allowed to fire them in retaliation for making a complaint. Employers also cannot fire employees for whistleblowing about illegal activities at the company.
What About Breaches of The Employment Contract?
There are cases where wrongful termination does not involve discrimination or other violations of employment law. If you signed an employment contract with your employer or were given an employee handbook, you should look at the termination policy section.
Your company’s termination policy may require your manager to give you a certain number of written warnings before firing you. If you were fired suddenly and the policy was not followed, your manager may have violated the employment contract. You can file a wrongful termination claim for breaches of the employment contract.
What if an employee quits?
Sometimes, discrimination and harassment at a workplace become so intolerable that an employee is forced to quit. In other cases, employers suddenly change the terms of employment without a valid reason, which makes it impossible for a worker to continue doing their job. These employer actions are called constructive dismissals, and employees who quit under these circumstances can still file wrongful termination claims.