How Do I Know If I Have Been Wrongfully Terminated?

In California, you may not realize that you work “at will.” This means you can essentially be fired without good cause, or without any cause at all. However, an employer cannot fire an employee for a bad reason such as discrimination or retaliation for making a complaint.

Grounds for Wrongful Termination

While there are genuine reasons an employer can fire you, such as layoffs, poor performance or violating a company policy, if you are fired for unlawful reasons, your employer may have engaged in wrongful termination. In this article, we will discuss the general grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Discrimination at Work

There are several federal laws that prohibit an employer from terminating you based on race, color, national origin, pregnancy, disability, religion, citizenship status, or genetic information. Although it seems like you are fully protected, there are limitations to these laws. These laws typically apply to employers with 15 or more employees and age discrimination laws apply to employers with at least 20 employees.

In California, the Fair Employment & Housing Act (FEHA) protects individuals from being discriminated because of the race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, or military and veteran status of any person. California FEHA also protects individuals from harassment, including sexual harassment. The California Labor Code promotes safe workplaces including protection against work place violence.

If you believe you were fired because of your status as a member of a protected class, or have been harassed or assaulted, you may have grounds for a discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination lawsuit. V. James DeSimone, an experienced wrongful termination attorney who has successfully litigated employment cases for over three decades, help get you compensated if there is cause. The team at V. James DeSimone Law provides vigorous representation in Court while providing compassionate representation to our clients.

Workplace Retaliation

Under California and federal laws, it is illegal for an employer to fire, demote, harass or retaliate against any job applicants or employees for filing a claim, or complaining about workplace harassment or discrimination. Also, as an employee, you cannot be fired for participating in any proceeding such as an investigation or lawsuit related to any legally protected activity. In spite of these laws, there are certain ways in which an employer can retaliate against an employee. For example, management can adopt a hostile attitude against an employee which makes for an uncomfortable environment. Sexual harassment can comprise of conduct and speech of a sexual nature but it can also be used in a retaliatory or hostile way. Employees are entitled to dignity and respect in the workplace and should not be abused or harassed while they are performing their job duties.

Other Types of Illegal Firing

Employers are also typically not allowed to terminate an employee for the following circumstances:

Because employment law can be difficult to understand, it is important to always read through your employment manual to make sure you are within the established company policies and procedures. If you want to file a complaint with your employer, find out what the employer rules are in filing a complaint and follow them. Put your complaint in writing and write it respectfully. Emphasize how much you value your job and want only to work in a harassment free and safe environment.

Protect Your Rights

In short, if you believe you are being mistreated in the workplace or were fired illegally, you may have grounds for a discrimination, harassment or wrongful termination lawsuit. At V. James DeSimone Law, we work diligently on behalf of clients whose workplace rights have been violated. Whether you are dealing with a matter involving discrimination, harassment, a wage and hour claim or any other employment law case, we investigate the matter to determine the exact issue at hand and develop a strong case strategy based on your unique circumstances. Call us today for a consultation at 310-693-5561.

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