California Wrongful Termination 2021

Updated: Mar 4

A Complete Guide For Wrongful Termination Claims In California


The significant limitations that California law puts on an employer's right to fire its workers are explained in this article.


Wrongful termination in California occurs when an employer ends an employment arrangement in violation of the employee's legal rights. In California, wrongful termination lawsuits may arise when an employer breaches a state or federal legislation, general public policy standards, the worker's employment contract, or some other element of the law.


California law provides workers with robust employment protections, some of which control how, where, and under what conditions an employee can be legally terminated. This article will take a closer look at these rights and clarify when, under California state law, an employer commits wrongful termination.



Who is an employee in California?


The precise meaning of the term "employee" would depend on the form of harm claimed by the worker. In most situations, if they operate under the oversight, direction, and control of an employer, a worker would be called an employee.


Employees vary from others who are called "independent contractors." An independent contractor sells a particular product or service to a corporation, but the company typically has no right to regulate the process by which that outcome is achieved.


In short, the more an employer or boss maintains power over the way a worker performs their jobs, the more likely the worker is to be treated by the courts as an employee.


Workers who are not employees may have claim against a corporation for breach of contract or violation of any other law (such as independent contractors or immediate family members). But for these reasons, terminating a contractual arrangement in which neither party is an employee does not legally count as a "termination."


Exceptions to "at-will" Employment.


In California, most work relationships are "at-will staff,"—which means that an employee can be fired for any reason at any time.


But a variety of exceptions to the general rule of at-will jobs have been defined by California labor law. These include:

  • An "implied contract" without reasonable reason not to terminate employment;

  • A violation of an implicit pact of good faith and fair dealing by the employer;

  • Wrongful termination in breach of public policy (for example, firing an employee because