Although California is an at-will employment state, there are still numerous circumstances in which wrongful termination can take place. If you were recently fired from your job and you believe that you were the victim of wrongful termination, Wilshire Law Firm can help. Our award-winning wrongful termination lawyers have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars since 2007 on behalf of our clients, and we can help you too. Your time to file a claim may be limited, so contact the accomplished employment lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm today by calling (800) 522-7274 to get started with your FREE case consultation.
What Is At-Will Employment?
At-will employment means that, unless you are under contract for a set period of time, or your contract has a clause requiring good cause for termination, both you and your employer can leave the arrangement at any time, for almost any reason. No prior warning or notice is required on either of your parts. Your employer can legally decide to fire employees for no reason, even if they are performing their jobs exceptionally, and be completely within his or her rights.
At-Will Exceptions and Wrongful Termination
Employers do not, however, have unlimited hiring and firing power when it comes to their businesses. Businesses are expected to adhere to all applicable public policies, as well as the conditions and procedures outlined in company policy or the employee’s contract. For these reasons, there are still many exceptions to at-will employment firings that the courts have found to be illegal in California, including:
- Discrimination—You cannot be fired on the basis of your race, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, political beliefs, or any other protected characteristic.
- Retaliation—Whistleblowers who report a violation of the law by their employer cannot be fired. Similarly, if an employee refuses to commit an illegal act, the employer is prohibited from terminating the employee.
- Protected Absences—Employees have the guaranteed right to serve on a jury, take family or medical leave as outlined in the Family and Medical Leave Act, and other legally-protected absences.
- Constructive Discharge—When an employer creates or fails to correct hostile working conditions that leave an employee with no reasonable alternative but to resign their position, this is treated by the courts as wrongful
Assessing your Wrongful Termination Claim
While you may have a strong suspicion that you were wrongfully terminated, those suspicions can be extremely difficult to prove in court, particularly without the counsel of an experienced wrongful termination attorney. In order to strengthen your claim, you and your lawyer should take the following steps:
- Gather Relevant Documentation—Employee handbooks, employment contracts and files, past performance reviews, and relevant communications can create a detailed account of your case. Confirm all agreements regarding your termination and, if applicable, severance in writing.
- Review your Contract—Contracts may limit the circumstances under which an employee may be fired. It’s also a good idea to interview coworkers when gathering additional evidence in support of your case.
- Don’t Retaliate—You may be hurt and upset following your wrongful termination, but now is not the time to steal property or commit legal violations. Find a trusted employment lawyer to represent you and help you obtain justice through the courts.
How Long do you Have to File a Wrongful Termination Claim?
The applicable laws governing a wrongful termination claim can vary, but employees generally must first file a charge with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days of their wrongful termination. If pursuing a claim with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, the charge must be filed within one year of the adverse employment action.
You may be entitled to compensation for the following:
- Lost Wages
- Lost Benefits
- Diminished Earning Capacity
- Pain and Suffering
- Punitive Damages
Your Wrongful Termination Attorneys
Since 2007, the experienced wrongful termination lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm have been helping their clients obtain the absolute best result. Our award-winning legal team of more than a dozen lawyers has the financial resources, the manpower, and the legal expertise you need for your wrongful termination claim. To find out how our commitment to excellence can help with your case, contact Wilshire Law Firm today at (800) 522-7274 or fill out our online contact form to get started today with your FREE case consultation.