Updated: Apr 14
What is considered wrongful termination and when you should seek the advice of a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney?
In 2018, in a wrongful termination case that, on the surface, seemed to revolve around the theft of $636, a California Superior Court awarded a former Chipotle manager nearly $8 million in compensation.
Chipotle argued that Jeannette Ortiz was terminated from her job because she stole $636 from the local restaurant she managed. Chipotle reported during the trial that it had a recording of the robbery, but before the trial, someone damaged the footage.
Chipotle also said that it threw away all correspondence, documents, and memos about the former manager's dismissal. Ms. Ortiz claimed she never stole any money and claimed that Chipotle had deliberately fired her because of her past workers' compensation lawsuits and pregnancies. The California court eventually sided with Ms. Ortiz.
Employees in California have the right, under federal law, to apply for employee health insurance for on-the-job accidents and, if eligible, to take time off under the Family Medical Leave Act for pregnancies. It is illegal for an employer in California to fire a worker for exercising their rights under these laws in retaliation.
How to file a case for wrongful termination in California
A wrongful termination in California is said to have happened when an individual has been fired for illegal reasons, such as discrimination or abuse. In other words, in violation of state or federal laws, an employee who has been dismissed unfairly will file a wrongful termination claim requesting reimbursement for damages.
It is also illegal to fire an employee in California either because they have filed a legal case against the employer or because, as a whistleblower, an employee has brought the employer's misconduct report to light. This form of action is called "retaliatory." If you think that you have been a victim of wrongful termination in Los Angeles, there are some steps that you need to take in order to defend your rights.
Document all evidence to support your wrongful termination claim
The evidence you can deliver showing were wrongfully terminated is crucial in a wrongful termination case. It is necessary to ensure that you have written proof of comments and other facts that you may be able to use during the proceedings to show wrongful termination in a California lawsuit. This could be anything as basic as your employer's negative remark. If you are reporting a statement, make sure that you include the time, place, and names of individuals present when the comment was made.
It helps to be organized by generating evidence of all events leading to your termination. Be consistent with keeping all bits of evidence that are important to your argument in written documents. Specifically, here are some of the documents that are important to support your wrongful termination claim in California:
Your personnel file.
Your letter of termination or notice of layoff. If you have been terminated face to face, write down the specifics, if any, of the conversation with your supervisor or manager. Have the time, date, and location where it happened so that you have reliable records.