Generally, California at-will workers do not have the benefit to contest their termination. However, if the termination procedure was brought about by certain unlawful employment actions, the employer may face legal charges and the fired employee may be reinstated.
There are particular factors that can make a seemingly lawful employee discharge into a wrongful termination claim. Certain Federal and State laws are being implemented in California in order to address and solve wrongful termination incidences. Subsequently, employees must know when are the instances that their employer has violated such employment laws in order to preserve their rights.
Three Common Causes of Wrongful Termination
The following are the common factors that may result into a wrongful termination case:
1. The employer breached the employment contract.
If the termination ignored the agreement between the employer and the employee, then it may be considered unlawful. Because of this, workers should familiarize themselves with their contract and understand the employment handbook. Victims of wrongful discharge may seek assistance from an attorney for wrongful termination to learn the possible legal steps to pursue.
2. The employer violated public policy.
If your employer retaliated by means of termination, you may file a formal complaint. The following are included in violation of public policy:
- Employer terminated the employee because he refused to perform illegal acts
- Retaliation against the employee who complained about the company
- Retaliation against the worker who participated in an investigation against the firm
- Employer fired the worker because he participated in a law protected task
3. The employer violated anti-employment discrimination laws.
In case that the termination was based on discriminatory employment decision, then, it may be considered as a wrongful termination. The following laws are particularly protecting California workers against employment discrimination:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Race, sex, marital status, religion, and national origin)
- Age Discrimination in Employment Act (Age)
- Americans with Disabilities Act (Disabled employees and applicants)
- Genetics Information Nondiscrimination Act (Genetics and family medical history)
- California Fair Employment and Housing Act (Race, sex, marital status, religion, national origin, gender expression and identity)
Importance of Attorney for Wrongful Termination
Seeking legal assistance prior to filing a wrongful termination claim is necessary in order to successfully claim for legal remedies. Under the law, if an employer is found guilty of committing wrongful discharge, he may be required by the court to reinstate the terminated employee, to provide compensations for pain and suffering, as well as to face punitive damages.