Were you recently fired from a job?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the termination, you may be entitled to monetary damages or lost wages.
Wrongful termination involves an employer firing an employee for reasons that may violate protected rights set forth under federal or state law.
Wrongful termination is a difficult topic in the state of California as most jobs are considered employment at will, meaning the employer does not have to provide cause for firing someone. However, if you feel as though you are a victim of wrongful termination you are entitled to pursue legal remedies.
What Does Employment At-Will Mean in California?
According to California Labor Laws, all personnel in a workplace are employed at will. Although this creates a flexible work environment, it can cause problems for both employees and employers when it comes to cutting ties. If an employee or employer chooses to terminate employment, they are free to do so without giving notice or providing cause.
Although employment at-will makes it difficult to prove wrongful termination, Ghozland Law Firm is here to help you establish your case. The first step is to determine whether or not your position is an exception to employment at will. If you are a government employee, a union worker, an employee with a contract that establishes the need for a good cause, or have been subjected to unlawful treatment by an employer then you might be entitled to compensation.
What Constitutes Wrongful Termination
Even though California is an employment at will state, there are still protections provided to employees under both state and federal laws.
Types of unlawful termination can include, but are not limited to:
Discrimination in the workplace is prohibited under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). Workplace discrimination is when a supervisor or co-worker treats an employee unfairly whether it is malicious or unintentional.
Under FEHA, it is illegal for an employer or a co-worker to discriminate against an individual in the workplace under the protected categories featured, but not limited to:
- National Origin
- Sexual Orientation
- Sex or Gender
- Marital Status
- Veteran or Military Status
FEHA legally defines harassment as any unwanted behavior targeted against a protected class that is either pervasive or severe. Workplace harassment is illegal and can occur in two forms. The first is Quid Pro Quo harassment, which involves a supervisor or co-worker requesting sexual favors from an employee in exchange for a benefit or the absence of adverse working conditions.
It is important to know, that if the supervisor or co-worker does not follow through with the reward or threat, then a quid pro quo did not take place and the type of harassment will be categorized under the second from known as hostile work environment.
Hostile Work Environment harassment, involves an employee or coworker subjected to offensive behavior that is pervasive or severe. This type of includes sexual and non-sexual harassment that is typically seen as a type of bullying.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, retaliation against an employee is illegal. If you filed a complaint or exercised your right permitted by law and your employer terminated, demoted, or created adverse working conditions for you, then you may be entitled to monetary damages or lost wages. It is important to know in the state of California, what constitutes a retaliation firing.
Situations that can lead to Retaliation Firing:
- Filing a claim of harassment or discrimination against a supervisor or co-worker. It is important to note that other employees listed as witnesses to the claims are also vulnerable to retaliation.
- Refusing to participate or reporting illegal activity.
- Requesting or taking medical or family leave
- Reporting lost wages
- Discussing unionizing with other employees
- Reporting or refusing to work in unsafe working conditions
- Participating in jury duty or appearing in court under a subpoena
- Filing for Workers Compensation
There are many forms of retaliation that employees are protected from. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated as a result of retaliation, contact our team today.
What To Expect in a Wrongful Termination Settlement
Wrongful termination can be something you saw coming or it can come out of nowhere, either way it can leave a lasting impact on your life. Fortunately, there are legal remedies that you can pursue that may result in monetary damages, lost wages, and other expenses incurred if the lawsuit is successful.
Although before filing a claim, it is important to remember that the burden is on the employee to bring forth evidence that their termination was unlawful. Wrongful termination claims are often difficult to prove and can cause problems for employees, which is why most claims settle before reaching court.
If you were recently terminated and there is reason to believe that the firing was unlawful, contact a lawyer at Ghozland Law Firm today.