With the US economy edging closer to a recession, many companies are cutting their workforce to make it through the downturn. It's a common strategy for corporates, but the effects extend to all businesses. If you experience a wrongful termination, you could be eligible for compensation from your employer.
In California, employment is presumed to be 'at will' under state law. It means that unless a contract specifies a fixed period of employment, the employer can fire the employee at any time. However, that doesn't mean your employer can fire you unfairly. Contact a wrongful termination lawyer at our law firm for a free consultation to discuss your case.
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Under 'at will' employment law, an employer can fire you any time for a given reason. However, the reason for termination must fall within California state or federal law.
Examine your recent behavior if you're unsure if you've been wrongfully terminated. If you're involved in union talks, denied a promotion, or filed a complaint about an unsafe workspace, it may contribute to your unfair dismissal.
The dismissal must be a violation of employment law to be considered wrongful termination. You could not file for wrongful dismissal if your boss fired you because they disliked you personally. However, you can file a case if your boss disliked you because of your race or gender, which are unlawful reasons.
|Contact our law firm to book a free consultation with a wrongful termination attorney. A lawyer will review your case and assist you with determining if your termination was unlawful. If your dismissal violates employment law, our attorneys can assist with filing a lawsuit against the employer for wrongful termination.|
Contact a wrongful termination lawyer at our law firm if you were unfairly dismissed. You can expect the following process involving a wrongful termination case.
It's challenging to navigate the claims process yourself while simultaneously going through the stress and uncertainty involved with your new unemployed status. We focus on building a strong attorney-client relationship with you. Our lawyers will fight for you and ensure you get your life back on track with a fast and favorable settlement.
When analyzing your case, our wrongful termination lawyers pinpoint the unlawful reason forming the basis for your termination by your employer. Here are the most common reasons a wrongful termination occurs.
A breach of contract occurs if your employer makes specific promises regarding job security at the time of employment and breaches those promises. The promises can be verbal or written.
If you have a written contract describing the terms of your job and job security, prematurely firing you is a breach of contract. In these situations, your employment is not 'at will,' and you may have a strong compensation claim.
Verbal agreements are challenging to prove. However, our expert wrongful dismissal lawyer builds your case by collecting evidence like text messages, voice calls, or witness statements.
There may also be an implied contract. For example, if your contract has a list of reasons for termination, it is implied that you will be employed as long as you do not cause any of the listed reasons.
This is another very common unlawful reason an employer may use to fire an employee. Discrimination occurs if an employee is fired for any of the following reasons.
California Labor Code and the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibit termination based on the above characteristics. A common example is firing old employees to get younger ones in the same position at lower pay.
Another example is getting laid off because you require accommodation for a medical condition or disability. FEHA requires employers to accommodate workers in cases of pregnancy, mental or physical disabilities, and other medical conditions requiring leave.
Several federal laws regarding your membership in a protected class also protect your right to fair treatment at work, for example:
• The Americans with Disabilities Act.
• The Civil Rights Act of 1964.
• The Age Discrimination in Employment Act, etc.
To win a claim based on discrimination, the employee has to show that the termination had a discriminatory motive. It can be done by documenting discriminatory comments, checking the timing of firing (to see if it collides with things such as maternity leave), and proof of preferential treatment by other employees, among others.
An employee can also be terminated improperly for taking leave for public duty, such as:
• Serving as a jury on a case.
• Appearing as a witness in court.
• Performing emergency duty as an emergency rescue personnel or voluntary firefighter.
If you refuse to help your company by cooperating with fraudulent behavior or illegal activity and are terminated for it, it also violates public policy. Retaliating against a whistleblower is another cause for wrongful termination. The Labor Code 1102.5 LC of California protects a whistleblower from wrongful termination and other forms of retaliation. Additionally, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 provides the right to sue for wrongful discharge if you worked in a publicly-traded company and were fired for whistleblowing on securities fraud.
Federal and state laws encourage citizens to report any wrongdoing in their workplace. These laws also protect employees from being fired for their actions. Sometimes, an employer fires people in retaliation for the activities covered by employment law, such as the following.
• Filing sexual harassment complaints.
• Filing workplace harassment complaints.
• Filing a lawsuit for violation of FEHA laws.
• Complaining about workplace discrimination.
• Expressing concern regarding unsafe workspace or labor code violations.
• Reporting any illegal conduct taking place in the company.
• Reporting any violation of laws to the authority, such as a government agency.
• Requesting benefits the worker is entitled to, such as medical leave.
The Fair Employment and Housing Act, in most cases, protect the employee's rights. Reporting the company's violation of laws and regulations is called whistleblowing. If you do this, you may be covered by the Whistleblower Act or public policy.
To prove the employer fired you as retaliation, your lawyer builds a timeline of events leading to your termination. They'll include as many details as possible – from when you acted to report or file a complaint to when you were laid off.
As a citizen of California and the United States, the law gives you rights as an employee. For example, you're legally entitled to taking medical leave, military service leave, and family emergency leave under any circumstances. Sometimes, an employer fires employees for taking leave. Since the termination would mean your former employer did not protect your legal right as a worker, you can claim wrongful discharge.
This type of termination cannot be directly called wrongful termination. The employee quits in this scenario due to intolerable conditions created by the employer. These actions may include the following.
Due to the workplace no longer being favorable, you can resign and file a case for constructive termination. A constructive termination case is more complex than a regular wrongful termination suit. Fortunately, we have expert lawyers who carefully evaluate your case, uncovering if you were forced to resign. If it's determined your employer drove you to quit, we can represent you in court and ensure you get a fair settlement.
Other probable reasons for wrongful termination include:
The statute of limitation is the period set by California law within which you must file a wrongful termination lawsuit. This period varies by the type of law violated. Contact us to find out how long you have before the period expires.
Check with a wrongful termination lawyer to verify the correct statute of limitations and how they apply to your case.
Our experienced wrongful termination lawyer suggests the types of damages you can claim. The employee can file for compensation for the following damages listed below.
You can make legal claims for the wages you would have earned if your employer had not fired you. You may include any unpaid and overtime wages due to you.
If you get another job after being fired, the lost wages you claim might be subtracted by the amount you earned at your new job. Apart from wages, you can sue for compensating the value of lost employment benefits. These benefits include medical insurance, retirement benefits, pensions, and severance pay.
You can also file a suit to get your job back. This is called reinstatement. However, the company may not be the most welcoming to you if you get your job back.
You could file for front pay if you're fired for making complaints or requests about occupational safety or unsuitable work conditions. Front pay is the wage you would have earned had you been able to return to work under better conditions. If you have another job that doesn't have the same level of pay or additional employment benefits, you can claim compensation for those benefits. This claim includes the pay for the months or weeks you spend unemployed.
Being the victim of wrongful termination can cause stress, pain, and suffering. A lawyer from our firm can evaluate the extent of your pain and suffering and file for compensatory damages. A lawyer may require help from other experts, such as mental health professionals. It is hard to estimate the costs of emotional distress, but our team has decades of experience calculating these costs.
Punitive damages are not claimed unless the particular misconduct is shockingly bad. These damages punish the defendant for such conduct, preventing them from repeating it with other employees. If your attorney believes the cause of your termination is particularly unfair, they claim punitive damages on your behalf.
The Labor Code dictates when an employee is terminated, the employer should have a check ready with their wages up until that day, including pay for that day. If your company fails to provide this, you're entitled to the wages and a wait time penalty under the Labor Code.
If you were denied any promised promotion opportunities or unfairly denied a promotion based on discrimination, you could also make a claim based on your employer's failure to promote you.
Some employers terminate employees who require special accommodations for their work, such as employees with disabilities or medical conditions. You could file a claim if the company did not make reasonable accommodations.
In some cases, you can also file a claim covering the court costs and attorney's fees.
To help you win the case, our lawyers will require your assistance in collecting and presenting evidence. Evidence will help the attorney build a strong case for you, which will help you get fair compensation. Relevant evidence may include the following.
Some of the relevant documents might be unavailable to you. In that case, your attorney can request them from the company if they refuse to provide them to you.
Dealing with wrongful termination from your job has lasting effects. You may struggle to find a new job, resulting in financial duress for you and your family. Don't let employers take advantage of you. Reach out to legal professionals for the protection and compensation you deserve.
With the help of our expert attorneys, you can get what you rightfully deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation. We'll review your claim and tell you if you have a case against your employer for wrongful termination.