Understand Your Legal Rights as a Wrongfully Terminated Employee in California

Every day, people are fired from their jobs for various reasons. For example, some employees are fired because of poor work ethic, and others because they lack the skills necessary to do their job. Losing your job can be frustrating. You depend on your income to take care of your bills and family. As a California employee, you should know that many legal rights and protections are available to you. While California is an at-will employment state like most other states in the United States of America, meaning that an employer can fire you for any reason, even if the reason seems unfair, it is illegal for an employer to fire you for an unlawful reason. In California, specific laws protect workers from wrongful termination, including the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Labor Code. In this article, we help you understand your legal rights as a wrongfully terminated employee in California.

Examples of Illegal Reasons to Fire a California Employee

As mentioned, California employers cannot fire employees for illegal reasons. There are several reasons why a termination may be unlawful. Below are some examples of illegal reasons to fire an employee in California;

  • An employer cannot fire you because of your age, gender, race, pregnancy, disability, religion, national origin, or any other protected characteristic.
  • An employer cannot fire you if it breaches a contract they made with you.
  • An employer cannot fire you because of complaining about sexual harassment or any other form of harassment.
  • An employer cannot fire you for taking time off for a medical condition, pregnancy, jury duty, or injury.
  • An employer cannot fire you for demanding that they pay you the right wages.
  • An employer cannot fire you for demanding that you be allowed to take your meal and rest breaks.
  • An employer cannot fire you for engaging in whistleblower activities. Whistleblowing entails revealing information about activity within a company that is deemed illegal, unsafe, illicit, or fraudulent.
  • An employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim after suffering a work-related injury or illness.
  • An employer cannot fire you for testifying against them in a judicial proceeding.

Often, employers will not come out and say that they are firing an employee, for example, because of their age or whistleblowing. Employers usually cover up their reason for firing an employee by creating a fake reason.

What are Your Rights as a Wrongfully Terminated Employee in California?

Being wrongfully terminated can be devastating. Fortunately, you have rights and legal options. After an employer wrongfully terminates you, you can file a wrongful termination claim against them and recover financial compensation. With the help of a skilled employment lawyer, you can recover the compensation you deserve in your wrongful termination claim.  

Some of the damages you can recover in a California wrongful termination claim include the following;

  • Lost wages
  • Attorney’s fees
  • Lost pay (due to a denied promotion)
  • Bonuses
  • Punitive damages
  • Emotional distress
  • Pain and suffering
  • Interest
  • Reinstatement to your job

Contact a California Employment Lawyer

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, contact a quailed California employment lawyer to learn more about your rights.