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A Guide To California Wrongful Termination Claims And Legal Options To Protect Your Employee Rights.
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Losing a job is a terrible experience for anyone, but losing a job because of wrongful termination is far worse. Your reputation, as well as your current and future financial security, are on the line.
Wrongful Terminations are taken seriously in California. If you were unlawfully fired, you are entitled to compensation for your losses. You find the best California wrongful termination attorney near you by submitting your claim for review 24/7 with this form.
California Wrongful Termination & The California Labor Law.
It is illegal for an employer to illegally "discharge or terminate" employees under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the New Parent Leave Act are two more legislation that may apply (NPLA).
By "wrongful," is it usually implied that an employee is not hired, promoted, or terminated because of their protected class status based on:
The FEHA, which is codified in Cal. Gov. Code 12900 et seq., applies to employers with five or more employees unless they are the employer's parents, spouse, or child.
Religious organizations and corporations that are not organized for private profit are likewise exempt from the statute.
Wrongful termination laws in California prohibit discrimination in all sorts of commercial operations. As a result, an employer is unable to discriminate on the basis of a protected group.
Some examples of these discriminatory actions include:
Discrimination is not permitted in any of the following situations:
Screening, applications, and interviews are all part of the process.
Recruiting, relocating, promoting, separating, or terminating employees.
Participation in an apprenticeship or training program and membership in a labor union or other employee organization.
Terms of employment, including pay, assignments, etc.
Wrongful termination in California can occur for a variety of reasons, not just because of discrimination. For example, if you were fired for the following reasons, you might have been unfairly terminated:
As a result of your political ideas, you've been discriminated against.
Because you are a whistleblower, you have been retaliated against.
Because you complained about unpaid wages, health and safety issues, or Labor Code violations, you were retaliated against.
Because the working circumstances were unpleasant or dangerous, I decided to leave (known as constructive termination)
Workers who were laid off in a mass layoff were not given a 60-day notice, as required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act).
In any of these scenarios, you have grounds for a Wrongful Termination Claim. Getting a California Employment Attorney will make it easier for you to gather evidence, file claims to the proper agencies, and take things to court when the issue can't be settled between your lawyer and your employer.
What Are Your Employee Rights In California?
California is a state where "at-will" employees can be fired at any time. This means that lacking a contract, agreement, or exception to a statute or policy, employers throughout California have the right to fire an employee at any time for any cause.
However, employees believe that because an employer can fire them for any reason and at any moment, it doesn't matter if it's because you just told your boss you're pregnant or because you requested fair accommodations for your disability.
It does, however, matter.
To some extent, the ability to fire anyone at any time is restricted. When you are a member above-mentioned protected classes, you are protected from being fired solely because of your protected status. If you are a whistleblower or file a complaint regarding underpaid wages, inadequate health and safety management, or violations of the Labor Code, you are also protected.
All workers have access to these safeguards, which include:
Employees who are paid by the hour
Employees that are paid a salary
Just because you are an "at-will" worker, it doesn't mean you can't be fired for illegal reasons. Thus, regardless if you're working at will or a regular employee, you cannot be fired for reasons listed under EEOC and FEHA.
Worker Protections Under The FEHA
Employees in California are protected from retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (the "FEHA") if they do any of the following:
Oppose harassment and discrimination in the workplace, as well as an employer's inability to give required pregnancy/family leave.
Make a harassment or discrimination complaint.
Participating in, assisting with, or testifying in any FEHA-related proceeding.
Request adjustments at work because of their religious beliefs or observances or because of a disability.
FEHA retaliation occurs under California employment law if an employee's participation in any of the foregoing activities is a primary motivating cause for adverse employment conduct against that employee or unfair treatment by that employee.
Retaliation in the Workplace Due to the False Claims Act
It is also prohibited for businesses to retaliate against employees who use their rights under the California False Claims Act. Employees in California can initiate a "qui tam" case against an employer who is committing fraud, bribery, or theft of government funds under the False Claims Act. (When a private citizen sues on behalf of a government entity, this is known as a "qui tam" case.)
The California False Claims Act's workplace retaliation provisions prohibit your employer from retaliating against you if you:
Bring a qui tam case against the company (or if you help in some way with a qui tam suit)
You don't want to break the California False Claims Act.
California Wrongful Termination As A Form Of Retaliation
Retaliation is when an employer tries to get back at you for reporting them to the proper agencies. For example, if you reported wrongdoing, workplace hazards, and employment discrimination, and your employer fires you for it, it is a Wrongful Termination done in retaliation for exercising your rights.
Your managers are not allowed to retaliate against employees who complain about their supervisors in California. Any violation of established worker protections should be reported to the appropriate authorities:
Retaliation for raising an objection, filing a complaint, or taking part in an investigation.
Make a request for a reasonable accommodation based on your disability or religious beliefs.
Filing or helping in a California False Claims Act "qui tam" action.
These anti-retaliation workplace standards address a significant void in California employment law. As a result, employees who do not lose their jobs but instead face discrimination, harassment, or other forms of retaliation at work may have a more challenging time getting legal help.
Employees facing retribution from their employers for exercising their rights under these laws have legal recourse under California's whistleblower legislation and retaliation laws ("FEHA").
What Signs Are The Signs Of Retaliation?
In California, the following is the basic legal definition of workplace retaliation: Because you engaged in a protected practice, your employer takes punitive action against you or mistreats you.
Assume your employer retaliates against you for exercising your legal rights by making your working conditions intolerable, forcing you to leave. In that case, you may be eligible to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer.
Other types of workplace retaliation, on the other hand, can be more subtle–and hence harder to spot. The following are some obvious signs that your boss is retaliating against you:
Even though your past ratings were positive, you begin to receive negative performance evaluations.
Your to-do lists and job projects have increased unexpectedly.
You've been assigned to shifts that are physically taxing or mentally draining.
Your bosses keep you out of meetings and communications, making it impossible for you to complete your task.
You've been passed over for a promotion or increase you believe you're entitled to.
Because of misleading claims or a lack of evidence, you're facing disciplinary action.
You have been denied access to services or training that could help you maintain a high standard of work or advance in your field.
If you've been retaliated against, or if your wrongful termination had been an act of retaliation, you should be consulting with an Employment Attorney in Los Angeles. Your lawyer should be able to tell the exact legal consequences of your unfair firing, including the laws and the employment rights that were violated.
What Can You Get From A Successful Wrongful Termination Settlement?
Employees in California who have been unlawfully terminated have a number of options. You might have the grounds to claim for the following damages:
Lost earnings (back pay)
Future earnings (front pay)