One of the most frustrating and perhaps bewildering moments in any employee’s career is finding out that your employer is ending the employment relationship. After the initial shock, employees often seek out a lawyer for information. Inevitably, the most common question to the lawyer is a variation of “my boss fired me for no good reason, does this qualify under wrongful termination law in California?”
If you are a non-union employee and have no written contract in California, you may be an “at-will” employee, meaning that either you or your employer may end the employment relationship at any time for any reason or even no reason. However the employer’s right to terminate its employees is not absolute. There are many state and Federal laws that protect employees who have been terminated for illegal reasons.
A termination may violate the law, and is therefore “wrongful,” where an employee is discharged for these and other reasons:
- Complaining about discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex or gender (including transgenderism), religion, age, disability, marital or family status, pregnancy status, or sexual orientation
- Taking time off for maternity leave or to bond with your newborn (including fathers)
- Taking time off for medical leave or to take care of a family member
- Having a serious medical condition, disability, or requesting a reasonable accommodation for a disability
- Complaining about sexual harassment
- Reporting unlawful or illegal conduct by your company (“whistleblower” protection)
- Requesting to be paid for all hours worked, legally-guaranteed overtime or minimum wage, or requesting legally-required rest or meal breaks.
- Refusing to perform an illegal act
- Performing a legal duty, such as serving on a jury or voting
Under wrongful termination law in California, you may potentially be able to receive your lost wages, damages for your pain and suffering; and, if the employer’s conduct was malicious or willful, punitive damages.
Goldbach Law Group is a Whittier law firm, serving all of Southern California, and specializing in the field of Employment Law. We have extensive expertise in helping people, who have been wrongfully terminated and retaliated against, recover their damages.