At-will employment: What does wrongful termination mean?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2021 | in Employment |

Employees of San Jose and other parts of California may want to learn more about what it means to be an “at will” employee. This status affects an employee’s ability to file a wrongful termination claim.

What is an at-will employee?

Employment in most states is “at will,” which means that employers do not need a reason to fire an employee. They also do not need to give a notice of termination so that employees can make plans for health and unemployment benefits.

What are the different types of wrongful terminations?

Even in at-will states, firing people for certain motives, especially if in violation of state and federal laws, is not permitted. A wrongful termination claim may be filed by the employee in order to seek compensation for their firing. Some of the common grounds for wrongful termination include the following:

  • Retaliation – You’ve reported wrongful activity at work.
  • Discrimination – You’re fired because of race, gender, religion or citizenship status, which is against the most basic tenets of employment law.
  • Medical history – Hiring and firing cannot center around medical history or risk of disease.
  • Organizing – Wages and working conditions aimed at improvement are not cause for firing.
  • Lack of cause – If you have a contract that requires a cause for termination, you can file a claim.

Read your original contract before filing

To ensure the fulfillment of conditions and promises, you should read the original hiring contract. Do you know your rights?

In addition, do not sign a severance agreement if it demands that you waive your rights to file a claim. A copy of your personnel file would also be great to have; it will tell you who is responsible for the firing and other details.

It may be smart to consult an attorney with experience in employment law. They may be able to help you receive compensation for wrongful termination and make it easier to navigate your claim. There may be deadlines, so it’s better to file a claim sooner than later.