When it comes to employment, that state of California operates under the at-will presumption. Although there are a few exceptions, the employment-at-will doctrine grants employers the right to terminate workers at any time without cause. Likewise, those who are employed “at will” have the right to abandon a position at any time without facing the threat of adverse legal action.
This doctrine aims to protect both employers and their workers; however, it has some drawbacks. For example, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, employees who feel as though they were the victim of wrongful termination may find it challenging to hold their former employer accountable.
If you were recently laid off and believe discrimination of any kind played a role in your termination, contact the Law Offices of Joel W. Baruch, P.C. Our attorneys have litigated more than 200 trials. Call 949-864-9662 to schedule a case evaluation with an Irvine wrongful termination lawyer.
When Can You Sue for Wrongful Termination in California?
Wrongful termination refers to the unlawful firing of an employee. A termination can be unlawful if:
- The employee was fired for a discriminatory reason;
- The firing violated the terms of an employment contract; or
- The employee was fired for exercising certain legal rights in the workplace.
Even “at will” states like California recognize that certain terminations are unlawful, and in such scenarios, employees have the right to sue their employer for damages, which might include lost wages, loss of benefits, and emotional distress.
What Are the Different Kinds of Wrongful Termination Claims?
If you categorize wrongful termination lawsuits by the alleged reason for the firing, there are four main kinds. They are:
- Contract claims;
- Discrimination claims;
- Retaliation claims; and
- Violation of public policy claims.
If you signed a contract promising your continued employment for a certain period of time, your employer has a legal obligation to abide by its terms. When a company fires a worker in violation of a contract, the prior employee has the right to file a wrongful termination claim.
Discriminating against individuals based on certain characteristics when making decisions regarding hiring, promoting, and firing is unlawful. In the state of California, protected characteristics include national origin, color, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability status, citizenship status, and political beliefs.
A company may not terminate a worker in response to his or her attempts for exercising or trying to enforce certain rights under employment law. For example, employees have the right to file a complaint of harassment, take medical leave, serve on a jury, and file a workers’ compensation claim without fear of retaliation.
Violation of Public Policy Claims
Claims involving violations of public policy are similar to those involving retaliation, but there are some key differences. Mainly, a violation of public policy claim may not necessarily be based around a specific statute or law. For example, you might have a valid violation claim if you refuse to lie to a tax auditor about the company’s spending despite your manager’s request and are terminated as a result.
If you think you were the victim of wrongful termination, turn to the Law Offices of Joel W. Baruch, P.C. After evaluating your case, a seasoned employment law attorney can help you determine the most strategic way to proceed.
Call 949-864-9662 to schedule a consultation. If you want to learn more about employment law in California, visit USAttorneys.com.