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Can You Be Fired For No Reason In Los Angeles?

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

A Guide To At-Will Employment And Wrongful Termination In California

California is an At-Will employment state, where you can be hired (and fired) at your employer's discretion. So yes, you can be fired for no reason. However, if your boss terminates your employment as an act of discrimination, retaliation, and policy violation, it is considered illegal.


That said, when your boss fires you for any illegal reason, you have grounds to file a California Employment Law Wrongful Termination Claim.


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What Is At-Will Employment?


Workers in the United States who aren't covered by a union or other employment contracts are basically employed at will. Essentially, it means that a worker can quit, and employers can dismiss them at any time and for any reason (again, save discrimination and retaliation).


So though you are working at your boss's discretion, you still have some protection from illegal employment decisions. For example, at-will employees can be legally fired because their boss does not like their attitude. However, the same boss may not fire an at-will employee because they discriminate against their protected characteristics.

All employment in California is believed to be "at-will" unless the parties engaged agreed otherwise or there is an appropriate exception, according to California Labor Code 2922. It's worth noting that many contract employees are still "at-will" because it's included in their contracts (the employers make sure of it).

So yes, at-will employees still have protections against illegal reasons for terminating them. If you need help or more information on the matter, contact an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles to help you map out your current employment status and find the legal solutions to a possible wrongful termination case.

Exceptions to the At-Will Work Rule

"Implied Contracts" can be used as an exception to the at-will employment rule. These can be verbal agreements, or the courts may look at both parties' actions to see if there was an understanding that the employee would not be fired without cause.


Consider the following scenario:

  1. An employee handbook includes various causes for termination, such as poor job performance or misconduct. Furthermore, the organization has a policy of keeping employees on staff as long as their job performance is satisfactory.

  2. If an employee with excellent reviews and no reports of misconduct is fired for the owner's nephew to take over the job, the employee may be able to file a wrongful termination claim. This is because the employee might have reasonably expected to keep their position based on the guidelines and previous practices.

If a recently terminated employee can show that they were engaged under an express or implicit contract, they might have grounds to claim wrongful termination under the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing exemption. This rule states that an employer:

  • Acts in bad faith when they terminate your employment agreement in violation of their own personnel policies

  • To prevent the worker from obtaining a benefit (such as a pension) to which they were otherwise entitled

  • By lying about the reason for the termination

According to federal law, employers cannot fire employees in retaliation for reporting discrimination, harassment, or harmful working conditions. However, retaliation lawsuits can be challenging to prove because the worker bears the burden of proof in establishing the action was retaliatory.

Furthermore, workers are typically terrified of being fired if they report harassment or harmful working conditions. Thus, just-cause legislation could aid in enforcing anti-retaliation rules in the workplace.


To help you better understand the unique circumstances of your case, get a referral to one of our prescreened Los Angeles Employment Lawyers to help you.


Can I Be Fired For No Reason Or Cause?

If an employer and employee do not have a contract, the employer does not need "cause" to fire the employee, and the person does not require "cause" to leave her position. At-will employment allows both parties to terminate the relationship if it becomes unworkable.


However, the parties can sign a written contract that guarantees the employee a set period of employment. Employment contracts with specific stipulations are used to attract and encourage highly skilled employees.

The "at-will" presumption vanishes when the length of an employee's employment term is determined. After that, the employer must have a solid reason to fire the employee, such as if someone did something illegal on company property.

In most cases, the employment contract also stipulates that the employer must give 30 to 60 days' notice before the termination takes effect. This allows the employee to look for new work.


If your rights have been infringed in any act of illegal firing, consult with an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles as soon as possible.

Is It Wrongful Termination, Or Were You Just Unfairly Fired?

An employer or boss has the legal right to fire an at-will employee for any reason, even arbitrary or unreasonable reasons. In simpler terms, an employee can be fired because management has a personal grudge against them or because they are being replaced by a new applicant who appears to be less qualified. Of course, the dismissal may appear to be unjust and unethical. However, it is unlikely to be considered "illegal."


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The termination must be prompted by an illegal reason or a violation of public policy to be considered illegal. An employer, for example, might fire a worker because she is Hispanic or disabled. An "unlawful policy" is defined as firing someone because of their race, ethnicity, color, national origin, or disability. The federal and state governments made it a priority to protect employees against discrimination in the workplace. Employees who complain about illegal behavior by the corporation or protest against participating in the illicit activity are likewise protected under the law.

Wrongfully terminating an employee in contravention of public policy is illegal. The employee is entitled to compensation, including back pay and punitive damages. In contrast, "unfair" termination is likely to be dismissed in court, and the employer may be able to recoup its costs from the employee. It can be challenging to tell the difference between an "unlawful" and "unfair" termination.

Knowing your rights when your job ends due to resignation or termination is critical. Ask an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles to see if you have grounds to file claims to the proper agencies.


Wrongful Termination Laws in California


If you've been laid off, terminated, or fired from your job, you should first consider whether the dismissal was legal or not. Most jobs in California are "at will," which implies that an employee can be fired like so:

  1. At any moment

  2. For any reason

  3. No reason at all

Of course, as long as the cause is legal. At-will employment does, however, have several important exceptions.


You are not considered an at-will employee if you have a signed job contract with your California employer that specifies the terms of your employment and the duration of the contract. You may, for example, have a job contract stating that you would be employed for a specified period of time. You may also have an offer letter, an email, or other written document stating that you will be employed in the future. You may be able to enforce such contracts in court if you have them in place.


Another exemption to the at-will law is an implicit contract, which effectively agrees on what your employer said and did. However, because wrongful termination is difficult to prove, this form of contract may be difficult to enforce.

When deciding whether an implied contract existed in California, the courts consider a number of elements:

  • The length of your employment

  • The frequency of your job promotions

  • If you have positive performance reviews

  • Your boss giving you assurances of continued employment

  • Whether or not your employer gave you notice of a firing or layoff

  • Whether you were guaranteed long-term or permanent employment when you were hired

All these factors count towards showing that the termination is considered an illegal one. In addition, proving that a contract, whether written or implied, has stipulations of the length of time you are able to work with an employer can qualify for contract claims. This is, however, all depending on your evidence, current status, and the case built by your Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles.

What Do You Mean When You Say "Unfair Workplace Practices"?


Your California employer may have fired you illegally if they breached their obligation or acted in bad faith. The following are some examples of unjust termination:

  • Intentionally deceiving employees about their chances of promotion or pay raises.

  • Laying off an older employee in order to replace them with a younger employee who will be paid less.

  • Transferring employees to unfavorable locations and assignments to force them to resign without receiving severance pay or other employment benefits to which they would otherwise be entitled.

  • Employees are being misled about the unfavorable features of a job in order to persuade them to accept the job or assignment.

  • Taking disciplinary action against an employee in order to prevent them from receiving commissions or other rewards owed to them.

When Employers Disobey Government Regulations


It is illegal to fire a worker while violating public policy. A California company, for example, cannot terminate an employee for voting, serving on a jury, participating in the military or National Guard, or filing a workers' compensation claim for an accident received on the job. Employees also cannot be fired for reporting unlawful or wrongful behavior at work to the police. Whistleblowing is the term for this. For example, you cannot be fired for reporting harmful working conditions to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


Did My Boss Discriminate or Retaliated Against Me?

Companies in California are prohibited from firing at-will employees or workers based on discrimination. If you were fired or terminated because of protected characteristics, including cases like:

Discrimination claims are subject to statutes of limitations or deadlines. So, as you can see, time is of the essence. Before the opportunity passes, contact an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles to help you fight for and assert your rights.

Employers are likewise prohibited by law from retaliating against employees who engage in legally protected activities. Thus, plaintiffs in workplace retaliation cases must establish that they lost their job as a direct result of the reprisal by their employer.

In addition, workers must demonstrate that they engaged in protected conduct under California labor law, such as submitting a complaint with the human resources department or the Los Angeles Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Plaintiffs must also establish that the employer's retaliation had a detrimental impact on the employment, such as a demotion, a pay cut, or an unjustified unfavorable performance rating.


Has My Boss Engaged in Defamation?

A defamation lawsuit is filed to safeguard your good name and reputation in your community. To show that defamation was a part of your job loss, you must be able to show that your California employer made false or malicious remarks about you while terminating you or later providing references, sabotaging your job search efforts.


To claim defamation, you must prove that your employer made a false or inaccurate statement about you, and that the statement was made with malice, that is, with the intent to defame you. In addition, your employer should have communicated this misleading information to at least one other person (verbally or in writing) and caused you to harm by doing so. Such harm could include losing your employment or blocking you from being hired by another company.

After a Wrongful Termination, What Should I Do?


If you believe you have been unlawfully terminated from your employment in California, there are a few actions you should take to safeguard your rights.

Here are a few essential pointers to consider:

  • The importance of time cannot be overstated. You have 21 days from the date of your firing to examine any severance packages your employer may have offered you, and seven days to alter your mind. If you feel you were fired as a result of discrimination, you have 45 days from the date of the discrimination to seek guidance from an EEOC counselor. If you want to submit a charge or complaint with the EEOC, you have 180 days to do so. Consult an expert Los Angeles Employment Lawyer regarding various deadlines, such as those for filing wrongful termination lawsuits.

  • Everything should be documented. It is critical to have paperwork in order to prove that you were unlawfully fired. You can keep track of these details in a variety of ways. You could, for example, keep a notebook of instances or events involving sexual harassment or discrimination. You must record the date and time of the incidents, as well as the location and names of anyone else who was present at the time.

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  • Retain the services of an attorney who specializes in wrongful termination cases. Not only will an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles be able to advise and help you through the claims process, but they will also conduct their own investigations to find evidence and solidify your grounds.

  • Wrongful termination claims can be complicated to handle on your own. Therefore, it is critical that you contact an expert Los Angeles Employment Lawyer who can assist you in analyzing your individual circumstances and providing you with legal advice. Local and state employment regulations relating to discrimination will be familiar to lawyers who handle these types of matters. Some states, such as California, and jurisdictions like Los Angeles and other cities have more strict legislation regarding employee protection.

  • Avoid using social media. Do not use social media to discuss your termination, layoff, or unfair treatment. Regardless matter how many measures you think you have in place, online privacy is highly suspect. Most (if not all) wrongful termination attorneys will urge clients not to publish any material on social media and, in many circumstances, to remove their social media profiles entirely until their case is settled.

  • This is because they know that your employer's attorneys are scanning your social media sites for posts that could aid their case. Even seemingly benign posts, images, or videos might be manipulated to your detriment. In court, whatever you post on the internet can be used against you.

What is the Procedure for Filing a Complaint?

Your Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles will be able to assist you on when, where, and how to file your case. This would mainly rely on how and why you were fired from your previous job. If your company violated your employment contract, for example, you would most likely bring a case in a state or federal civil court. Discrimination-related wrongful termination claims are filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a state agency.


After then, the EEOC will look at your claim. You will be able to take additional action against the employer if the agency judges your claim to be valid. Your California Wrongful Termination Lawyer can assist you to use the EEOC's self-assessment tool to see if filing with the agency is suitable in your circumstance. Your lawyer will assist you in drafting your complaint. The formal notice will then be delivered to your former employer. The notification must be filed with the court clerk after it has been served.


The actual litigation process will commence once all paperwork has been filed. The "discovery" procedure is when each side is compelled to exchange all relevant papers and information with the other before a matter goes to trial. Questions and responses may be used in discovery and pertinent documents that will be used as evidence during the trial.

Depositions play a crucial role in the discovery process. This is where each side and any witnesses in the case can question the other. Those who are deposed in this way are required to state the truth under oath. A court reporter records depositions, and transcripts of these depositions will be made available to both sides' counsel throughout the trial.

The majority of wrongful termination claims are settled without going to court. However, some cases may end up in court. Therefore, before signing off on a settlement offer or any form of agreement, you should check with your Los Angeles Employment Lawyer.

How Much Will I Be Compensated for Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination cases are civil actions in which the plaintiff (or claimant) asks the court to order the defendant, the employer, to pay monetary payable damages to compensate you for the losses you suffered from the job termination.


The following are some of the damages that can determine how much you get in a wrongful termination case:

  • Wages that have been lost. You may be entitled to the pay you would have gotten if your employer hadn't fired you. This also includes any earned and unpaid wages, overtime, or other compensation. Any wages you make after being fired will almost certainly be deducted from this sum, such as if you are rehired at the same or greater rate of pay. If you are employed at a lower salary, you will continue to receive lost pay damages equivalent to the difference between your previous salary and your new salary.

  • Benefits that have been lost. You will be eligible to recover the value of your missed wages. Medical and dental insurance, pension, and retirement benefits such as 401k plans, stock options, and so on are examples of these benefits.

  • Pain and Suffering. You can also claim compensation for emotional suffering if you were wrongfully terminated. This may be especially true in situations when the employer has acted inappropriately and the employee has experienced emotional distress that may be validated by a mental health practitioner. The plaintiff is likely to recover these damages if the employee suffers from depression or anxiety as a result of the job loss, as confirmed by their psychiatrist.

  • Damages for retaliation. In addition to compensatory damages, they are granted. These damages are only awarded in the most heinous circumstances. They are designed to punish the defendant as well as deter future similar actions.

  • Fees for attorneys. You may be entitled to recover attorney's fees and other court costs in some wrongful termination situations.

That said, how much you can claim on a successful case is dependent on many factors, including evidence, defense, and the support of your California Employment Attorney.

As mentioned before, your case might be unique from any of the ones listed or used as an example above. This is because employment claims and people's experiences are different. That's why you need reflection and some legal advice to help you fully grasp your case, the grounds you have to forward it, and how much you can demand in damages.

How Do I Find A Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles?


Here at 1000Attorneys.com, you can:

  1. Make a case review request online at any time.

  2. You'll be chatting with a fitting Employment Lawyer in no time.

Submit your case details here for a quick case review.

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