At Will Employees and Their Wrongful Termination Grounds in California

Updated: Apr 21

Even "At-Will" Employees Can Be Fired For Illegal Reasons

Under California Employment Law, Wrongful termination owing to discrimination or perhaps a worker reporting discrimination and harassment in the workplace is illegal in California. An Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles put in contact with you through a California Bar Association Certified Attorney Referral Service can help.

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California Wrongful Termination

California is an "at-will" employment state, which implies that employers have the right to fire employees for any reason. Employers in California, on the other hand, are prohibited from firing employees based on legally protected rights, such as age (over 40), handicap, gender, religion, race, or sexual orientation. Employers also cannot fire employees in retribution for reporting workplace discrimination, harassment, or illegal activity or for cooperating in workplace investigations. Wrongful termination is unlawful in California, and employees are protected by the law. Employees are protected by state and federal laws, which encourage them to report discrimination and harassment without fear of being dismissed.

You might have a legal claim if you were fired or otherwise subjected to retribution because you reported illegal discrimination, harassment, wage or overtime pay violations, or involvement in the Armed Forces. Workers in California cannot be dismissed for requesting leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or the California Family Rights Act, for asking for reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or for reporting criminal or financial misconduct by their company. Even if you are an "at-will" employee, you may have a claim for wrongful termination in California.

If an employee has a written or implicit contract with their employer and is terminated before the end of the agreed-upon period, they may be entitled to compensation for their damages as a result of wrongful termination or breach of contract. If an employer violates an employment contract, the employee is entitled to what they should have received under the provisions of the contract.

If any of these circumstances played a role in the decision to fire the employee, even if just in part, the termination is illegal under the law. In such cases, the wronged employee may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. Similarly, if there were multiple reasons for the termination, wrongful termination could arise if any illegal cause had a significant role in the decision.