The majority of workers in California are known as “at-will” employees. This means that the employer may end the employment relationship at any time, with or without just cause.
However, there are important exceptions to the “at-will” rule that have been created by the courts, statutes, and public policy in order to protect employees from wrongful termination.
Although the law can be complicated in this area, the majority of the laws are set-up to protect you. There are a variety of reasons an employer may not fire an employee.
Generally, there are two scenarios under which an employee may not be terminated: (1) Discrimination; and (2) Retaliation.
Discrimination Wrongful Termination
Discrimination is taking action against someone due to a protected class:
- Political Affiliation
- National Origin
Retaliation Wrongful Termination
Retaliation is the reaction of your employer after you:
- “Whistleblow” – Notify higher management/outside entity of illegal activities
- Protest or Report – Discrimination, harassment (against protected class), wage and hour violations, unsafe work conditions, or a perceived illegal activity
- File a Workers Compensation claim
- Request/take a protected leave: FMLA, CFRA, Maternity Leave, Medical Leave, Voting, Jury Duty
- Participate in a protected activity such as take time off to vote or complete jury duty, union discussions, file a lawsuit, etc.
Retaliation can include but is not limited to:
- Decreased compensation
- Disciplinary actions such as write-ups, suspension, or being placed on a Performance Improvement Plan
At Aegis Law Firm, we protect the rights of those that have been violated by their employer. Because the terms of a wrongful termination vary so greatly, you should contact our office as soon as possible for a free case evaluation. We can help you determine if your termination was in fact wrongful, and what you can do to be compensated for your hardship.