Legal Help If You Are Wrongfully Terminated
In California, unless you have a contract you are considered to be an “at will” employee. Being “at will” means that your employer can end your employment any time he wants. And, you can quit your job at any time.
It is legal for your employer to fire you for an “unfair reason.” Your employer doesn’t even need a reason to fire you.
Just as you do not have to continue working for someone, your employer doesn’t have to continue working with you either.
Exceptions to the Rule
But, there are situations when a termination is considered illegal. If you have been fired for an illegal reason, that is a wrongful termination.
Common illegal firings or lay offs include:
- You were discriminated against on the basis of your race, sex, age, pregnancy, disability, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin
- You were fired after complaining about discrimination, sexual harassment or overtime
- You were fired or laid-off even though you had a contract
- Your employer is retaliating for your filing a complaint against him for breaking the law.
- You were fired for taking time off for military service
- You were fired for having a long-term illness or because you took time off when your child was ill
- You were fired for refusing to perform in an unsafe or unhealthy work environment
- You refused to break the law at your employer’s request
- You exercised your right to vote
- You helped organize a union
- Your treatment at work was so harmful that you sustained serious emotional injuries
The Reason You Were Fired
If you are fired for any of the reasons above, it is unlikely that your employer will come out and admit to the “real” reason you were fired.
You may have been given a “rational” reason, but in the light those “rational reasons” have holes in them.
Or, your employer might have convinced other employees or supervisors to complain about you.
Or, you are suddenly given a letter of warning, though you have a long history of positive evaluations.
What to Do When You First Face Discrimination
If you were fired for one of the reasons above, there will have been other discriminatory behavior towards you before you were actually fired.
You should begin keeping a written record of events around your firing. Write down dates, locations, and the names of anyone involved in performance reviews, off-hand comments, commendations, or reprimands.
Keep these notes in a safe place. These records could be helpful if your employer challenges your right to receive unemployment insurance. They can help you prove that you were fired illegally, which is a wrongful termination.
Contact a Wrongful Termination Attorney
Contact David Olan at Olan Law for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. We can tell you if we believe you were wrongfully terminated, and, if so, what legal options are available to you.
FAQ: Wrongful Termination
Q: My boss said they don’t need me anymore and that my last day of work would be today. Can he do that with no notice? Isn’t that wrongful termination?
A: Just as you can’t be forced to work somewhere and can leave at any time, your employer does not have to continue to employ you as long as he is not retaliating for your participation in lawful conduct, discriminating against you, or firing you for resisting sexual harassment.
Q: If I am wrongfully terminated, what can I recover?
A: If you have been wrongfully terminated, you may be eligible for compensation for:
- Lost wages and benefits
- Future wages and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Q: How do I know if I’ve been wrongfully terminated?
A: The best way to know is to talk to a wrongful termination attorney. If you think you have been wrongfully terminated, you should speak to David Olan or Toby Noblin as soon as possible. As wrongful termination attorneys, they can evaluate your situation and give you your legal options.
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