Being terminated from your job in California can be stressful and shocking. If you weren’t expecting it, you will probably have a lot of questions. The most important thing to know is whether you were wrongfully dismissed. You can figure that out based on knowing about state and federal employment laws.
How can you know if you were wrongfully terminated?
California is an at-will employment state. That means the relationship between employers and employees can end at any time for any reason or even for no reason. Employers have the right to lay off, let go or fire an employee. Employees have a right to quit for any reason or no reason at any time they wish.
In spite of these laws, that doesn’t necessarily mean that employees are never wrongfully dismissed. It’s illegal for an employer to terminate a worker based on certain protected statuses. Those include the following:
- Gender identity
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
If a person believes that they were fired for any of the above statuses, they may be eligible to file a lawsuit against the employer. They will need to show proof of discrimination to proceed with the lawsuit.
Other means of wrongful dismissal
There are other ways an employee can be wrongfully dismissed by their employer. If someone made a whistleblower claim and was retaliated against through termination, it is illegal, and the individual can file a claim against the employer. Wrongful dismissal occurs often when someone acts as a whistleblower even though complaints are usually made anonymously.
Employees who were fired because they refused to perform illegal acts ordered by their employer also have valid claims for wrongful dismissal. If someone refuses to break the law, it’s illegal to fire them as a result.
Some employees end up terminated after filing a workers’ compensation claim. If a worker is legitimately injured and sustained the injury on the job, they have a legal right to file for workers’ comp. The employer cannot legally terminate them for doing that.
If you believe you were wrongfully dismissed, you don’t have to accept it. You can take action to fight back against your employer.