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Can You Be Fired For Unfair Reasons In California?

What Counts As Wrongful Termination For California Employees?

As with any legal procedure, we must first define what "unfair" means. This will dictate whether your case is eligible for a California wrongful termination claim.

Additionally, its eligibility will also be affected by your employment status, contracts, and your capacity to prove the reasons for your termination.

That said, let's look at how our prescreened California wrongful termination law attorneys handle potential claims:

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What Does "Unfair Reasons" Mean?

Unfortunately, just because you think you were fired unfairly doesn't mean you can sue. For example, at-will workers getting laid off during difficult financial times is unfair, but it doesn't make it illegal.

Under California employment law, "unfair" needs to mean discriminatory for plaintiffs to sue.

What Are Illegal Reasons To Fire Someone In California?

Let's look at potentially "unfair reasons" for firing an employee and see if they count as an act of wrongful termination:

1. Firing An Employee For Discrimination Against Protected Characteristics

California protects employees against discrimination. If an employer refuses to hire, fire, suspends, cuts pay, or harasses an employee because of their protected characteristic, you can sue them.

Does discrimination against protected characteristics count as wrongful termination?

Yes. If your protected characteristics were the reason for your termination, you have enough grounds to sue. This also applies to at-will workers who don't have formal contracts.

2. Firing At-Will Employees For No Reason

California is an at-will state. This means it is permissible for employers of at-will workers to fire them for any or no reason at all. But, of course, being "at will" also means you can leave whenever you want.

Does firing at-will employees for no reason count as wrongful termination?

No. Unless you were fired for discriminatory reasons stated in the first section. While firing someone so suddenly and without cause might seem unfair, at-will employees usually can't consider it an illegal reason.

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3. Firing An Employee For Causes Not Indicated In The Contract

If you have a contract that denotes the proper procedures and reasons for firing employees, you should check whether your termination meets those clauses.

Does breach of contract count as wrongful termination?

Yes. If you were fired without following what's indicated in your employment contract, you should contact a prescreened California wrongful termination law attorney.

4. Retaliating Or Punishing An Employee For Doing Protected Activities

"Protected activities" are things you have the right to do and cannot be punished for doing. So, for example, you cannot be fired if you report your boss to OSHA.

Does retaliation against protected activity count as wrongful termination?

Yes. If you've been fired for retaliatory reasons, you should contact a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney ASAP.

What Qualifies As Wrongful Termination In California?

So, what counts as a California wrongful termination case? Let's take a look:

1. Discrimination Of Protected Characteristics

Protected characteristics under California law include the following:

2. Firing Employees For Doing Protected Activities

This could include:

  • Taking time off to vote

  • Taking time off to serve on the jury

  • Reporting your employer for illegal activity

  • Leaving to serve in the military

If you've been fired for the above reasons, contact a prescreened wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles.

Who Has The Burden Of Proof In Wrongful Termination In California?

You have the burden of proof when you file a wrongful termination claim in Los Angeles.

The main problem is that most employers will not admit to firing employees for illegal reasons. Instead, they will try to find ways to show that you were fired for other acceptable causes.

Hence, plaintiffs need to gather evidence to show that their termination was rooted in discrimination. Contact a prescreened Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer to help you compile the evidence you need and build a solid claim.

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