Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Wrongful termination laws exist to protect employees from being fired without just cause, but it is important to understand how “at-will” employment laws affect these situations. Wrongful termination laws help employees determine whether or not a firing or termination was proper and helps them seek legal recourse with a California wrongful termination attorney if it was not.
What Is “At-Will” Employment?
California and many other states adhere to “at-will” employment law, meaning employment relationships exist solely at the will of the employer and the employee. That means either party can terminate the employment at any time, for almost any reason, with or without prior notice. Discrimination is the main determining factor in discerning whether a termination was wrongful.
Discrimination is any type of decision-making that affects an employee’s work status based solely on identity factors, such as race, skin color, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, or other similar factors. For example, an employer cannot fire an employee simply because he or she adheres to a particular faith or has a particular color of skin.
Another determining factor in wrongful termination cases is that employees cannot be fired for refusing to break the law. If an employer demands that an employee violate public policy and his or her continued employment is contingent upon doing so, it would be a wrongful termination for the employer to fire the employee for refusing to comply with such a demand.
Breaches of Employment Contract
In some cases, employers and employees will have employment contracts that supersede at-will employment laws. These contracts may be implied or formal. Formal contracts will usually outline any eventualities that would constitute just cause for firing the employee or otherwise ending the working relationship. Implied contracts, such as informal oral or written agreements may also constitute contracts.
If an employer makes any provable assurances of continued employment or any promises of long-term employment were made during your hiring process, it may be held liable for wrongful termination if you did nothing to reasonably warrant termination. Wrongful termination laws also apply to any situations in which an employer coerces an employee into quitting.
This may include misleading the employee about the nature of his or her work or delegating undesirable or dangerous assignments to the employee. If an employee quits, he or she often concedes his or her rights to severance pay or other forms of compensation. Some employers try to avoid paying such compensation by coercing the employee to quit of his or her own volition.
Know Your Rights If You Are Wrongfully Terminated
Wrongful termination can include any number of potential circumstances. Some of these include:
- Discrimination. Employers may not fire an employee on the basis of race, skin color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, or other protected classification.
- Retaliation. Employees who engage in protected actions, such as filing for workers’ compensation or testifying in legal proceedings, are immune from reprisals for their actions made in good faith. If an employer takes any adverse action against an employee for performing a protected action, the employer is breaking the law.
- Breach of contract. Contracts, whether implied or formal, can protect an employee from a wrongful termination. The employer will be held liable for breach of contract if the employee did not reasonably warrant termination as outlined in the contract.
Whatever your case may be, one of the best steps you can take to protect your rights as an employee is to contact a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney with a specialization in employment laws. At Mathew & George, our legal team is committed to protecting the rights of employees in the Los Angeles area. We only maintain a few cases at any given time so we can properly focus our efforts to every client’s case. Reach out to us for more information about California wrongful termination laws or to arrange a consultation about your situation.