Many of our readers in California have heard the term “at-will” employment and, in some cases, they probably believe that this means an employer can fire an employee for any reason – or no reason at all. This isn’t exactly correct. As with most laws, there are exceptions.
These exceptions can lead to a legal claim of wrongful termination.
A wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for a reason that is contrary to legal protections. If the termination of your employment was unjustified and falls under one of these exceptions, you may be in a position to file a wrongful termination claim.
Do you have a claim?
Some of the most well-known legal protections include prohibitions on unlawful discrimination. Under California and federal law, an employer may not legally fire a worker simply because of the worker’s race, sex, religion, age, disability or membership in one of several other protected classes.
Another example of wrongful termination might be a discharge from employment as retaliation for legally protected conduct. For instance, it would be unlawful for an employer to fire a worker simply because they complained about unlawful activity at the office, or if the employee refused to follow directions that would have led to unlawful conduct.
If your employment didn’t end well, you may feel like you were wronged. But, does it rise to the level of wrongful termination? A lawyer with experience in employment law can help you understand how the law may apply to the unique facts of your case.