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There are California laws protecting  “at-will” employees from being wrongfully terminated for participating in protected activities, for example:

  • Having wages garnished (California Labor Code section 2929);
  • Disclosing or refusing to disclose wages (California Labor Code sections 232(a)-(b));
  • For refusing to work hours in excess of those permitted by the Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) Orders (California Labor Code section 1198.3);
  • For filing or threatening to file a claim with the Labor Commissioner (California Labor Code Section 98.6);
  • For refusing to work in unsafe conditions (California Labor Code section 6310);
  • Reporting unlawful activity (California Labor Code sections 1102.5, 6310);
  • Voluntary participation in an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program (California Labor Code section 1025);
  • Refusing to authorize disclosure of medical information (California Civil Code sections 565.10(a)-(c), 56.20(b));
  • Refusing to patronize employer (California Labor Code section 450);
  • Refusing to participate in illegal conduct (California Labor Code section 2856);
  • Taking time off to participate in activities of a child's school or licensed day care facility (California Labor Code section 230.8);
  • Maintaining privacy of arrest records that do not lead to convictions (California Labor Code section 432.7);
  • Refusing to take a polygraph test (California Labor Code section 432.2);
  • Enrolling in an adult literacy program (California Labor Code sections 1041-1044);
  • Refusing to participate in abortions (California Health & Safety Code section 123420);
  • Being considered for employment without regard to results of blood test for AIDS (California Health & Safety Code section 120980);
  • Wearing pants to work (California Government Code section 12947.5);
  • Taking time off to seek relief from domestic violence or sexual assault (California Labor Code section 230(c));
  • Taking time off to seek medical attention, obtain the services of a domestic violence program or psychological counseling, or participate in safety planning related to domestic violence or sexual assault (California Labor Code section 230.1);
  • Using accrued sick leave to attend to illness of child, parent, spouse, domestic partner, or child of domestic partner (California Labor Code section 233);
  • Using unpaid family care or medical leave under the California Family Rights Act (California Government Code section 12945.2);
  • Engaging in lawful conduct during nonworking hours away from the employer's premises (employer may not demote, suspend, or discharge an employee for such conduct (California Labor Code section 96(k));
  • Jury duty (California Labor Code section 230);
  • Political activity (California Labor Code sections 1101-1106);
  • Military service (Military & Veterans Code section 394);
  • Acting as a reserve firefighter, reserve peace officer, or emergency rescue personnel (California Labor Code section 230.3);
  • Serving as an election officer on Election Day (California Election Code section 12312);
  • Health care workers' exercise of statutory obligation to report apparent victims of abuse or neglect, without suffering discharge or discipline (California Government Code section 12940(g));

These are just a few examples/reasons for which an employee may not be terminated for. There are scores of more constitutional provisions, statutes, regulations, and case law that can also serve as the basis for a wrongful discharge case.

There are other Federal laws protecting employees for being terminated for participating in protected activities.