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Illegal Reasons For Termination In California

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Signs Of Wrongful Termination Under California Employment Law

Wrongful termination or unlawful dismissal occurs when an employer fires a worker or employee violating federal or state employment laws. If you were dismissed or threatened to be fired because of your protected traits, you might have a viable wrongful termination claim, and there are California employment lawyers who may help you recover damages and lost benefits.

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The following reasons for termination are, in general, considered illegal:

  • Because of your age, race, sex, disability, or other protected characteristics under California employment law

  • In reprisal for reporting illegal activities, discrimination, harassment, or food and health breaches

  • After taking a sick or family leave, serving in the military, sitting on a jury, or voting

  • Your termination violates the terms of your employment contract.

If you've been fired for these illegal causes, don't hesitate to contact California employment lawyers near you. They have the experience and knowledge to help you file the right paperwork, meet deadlines, and gather proof to create a solid employment law claim in California.

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Who Is Eligible For Wrongful Termination Claims?

The claimant's employer (or used to work for) is a critical component in wrongful termination claims in California.

For employees with signed contracts, you will be eligible to submit Wrongful Termination Claims for any violations of the said employment contract. This means you cannot be fired anytime or for any reason as your employer pleases.

If you work as an At-Will employee, your manager can terminate you at any time for any reason (even for no reason at all). However, firing you for any other reasons outlined above is still illegal. This means your employer might be able to fire you for no reason at all; however, they cannot fire you for discriminatory reasons.

More on the Termination of At-Will Employees

At-will employment gives an easy, no-strings-attached way to leave a position from the employee's perspective. However, it implies that an employer has the same authority to fire a worker. As a result, employees in California are not afforded the same amount of protection under the state's at-will employment legislation as they are under the rest of the state's labor regulations.

Employer interests are favored by the at-will employment system because:

  • It permits employers to fire employees at will for whatever reason they see fit (i.e., for no reason)

  • This is crucial for employers since "cause" has a specific meaning in California employment law. The employer's good faith governs a legitimate and honest cause or rationale.

  • When dismissing at-will employees, employers are relieved of a considerable legal burden because they are not required to prove cause.

  • Because of at-will employment, an employee who is fired without cause cannot sue the employer for breach of an implicit contract.

While employers can fire at-will employees for any reason or no reason, they must still follow all federal, state, and municipal anti-discrimination and anti-retaliation rules. Employers must also follow labor regulations by compensating employees for unused vacation time earned over time and other benefits.

Again, just because you're an at-will employee who works at the employer's discretion doesn't mean you can't sue for unpaid wages, illegal employment practices, or labor law violations. Contact an Employment Lawyer in Los Angeles for help with unique Employment Law issues.

What Are Some Exceptions for Wrongful Termination?

As previously stated, California is an at-will state, which may impact some employees' employment rights. However, there are a few exceptions to the working-at-will disadvantages, such as the following:

  • Employees who have signed employment contracts stipulate a basis for termination or particular processes for termination

  • Employees hired for a defined period of time, such as a set number of years, cannot be fired unless the contract specifies otherwise

  • Employees who are covered by collective bargaining agreements that require just cause and due process before being fired

  • Employees in the public sector are protected against being fired by several civil service statutes or collective bargaining agreements

  • Employees whose employers violate the presumption of at-will employment through their words or conduct

Contact our prescreened California employment lawyers if you have any questions about the legal repercussions of your recent termination. Knowing your rights and what you can do about them will make filing claims and expressing yourself easier in the long run.

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