Can You Be Fired For No Reason In Los Angeles?

Updated: Mar 28

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 case of Wrongful Termination.

Exceptions to the At-Will Work Rule

There are "implied contracts" that can be used as exceptions 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