Getting fired sucks. But getting fired for what feels like no reason at all is even worse. You can read multiple different definitions of wrongful termination, but legalese makes it nearly impossible to decipher how it applies to your firing.
Today, we asked our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney at JML Law to spell out how a notice that your employment is being terminated can serve as evidence in a wrongful termination claim.
Here are four times when being fired in California counts as wrongful termination:
There was no ‘cause’ for termination
In Los Angeles and elsewhere across California, most employees work on the “at will” basis, which basically means that their employers can fire them for no reason at all but only as long as the reason for firing is not illegal.
However, even if you’re an “at will” employee, read the employment contract that you signed upon hiring. If the formal employment agreement says that your employment can only be terminated “for cause,” it is a major sign that you may have been wrongfully terminated.
Even if there is no contract in place, other factors may apply to prove that you should have been terminated only “for cause.” For example, verbal or written statements in the workplace or an employment policy can serve as evidence as well.
Our best wrongful termination attorneys in Los Angeles explain that the “cause” for which you can be terminated can be defined in the contract or if it isn’t, then state laws apply. According to California laws, causes for termination may include willful misconduct, disclosing company secrets, continued unacceptable job performance.
Discussing workplace or labor issues
If you were fired for discussing workplace or labor issues with colleagues, your firing may be illegal. You may be entitled to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit under the National Labor Relations Act, which protects employees from firing when they are talking to their co-workers about ways to raise wages or improve working conditions.
Our attorneys at JML Law warn, however, that the law does not typically protect employees from getting fired for simply complaining to colleagues in the workplace. The difference between the two is: as long as you work together with other co-workers to find ways to improve wages and working conditions, the federal law may protect you against wrongful termination.
Retaliation for whistleblowing
An employer in California has no right to fire employees for reporting unlawful or wrongful activities in the workplace. Retaliation against employees who choose to become whistleblowers counts as wrongful termination.
Whether you witnessed and reported criminal activities, sexual harassment, wrongful activities, or other illegal conduct at work, retaliation against employees who report these things constitutes wrongful termination. Period.
You were victim of discrimination
If you have any – even the slightest – reason to believe that your employment was terminated due to unlawful discrimination, don’t hesitate to speak to a wrongful termination attorney in Los Angeles.
If there is evidence to prove that your employer discriminated against you on the basis of race, gender, age, nationality, origin, marital status, religion, disability, or other, you may be entitled to file a lawsuit and seek damages. This evidence can include:
- Verbal or written statements from employers or supervisors
- Circumstantial evidence (you were the second pregnant employee in two weeks to get fired)
- Employees treated differently on the basis of race, gender, age or other (the employer give promotions to younger employees while ignoring the older ones)
- Any comments or actions that indicate bias against certain groups (witness accounts can count as evidence).
If you believe that you were terminated and either or the combination of the above-mentioned scenarios apply, consult a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney.
Take legal action against your illegal firing by calling our lawyers at JML Law. Call our offices at 818-610-8800 or send us an email for a free case evaluation.