Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Attorney
Wrongful Termination Laws in California
In California, most employees are under an “at will” employment arrangement. This means that their employment can be terminated at any time—with or without notice and for virtually any reason, including no reason at all. However, in some cases, it is unlawful for an employer to fire, let go, or lay off an employee, specifically when the termination is based on retaliation or discrimination.
If you believe that your employer wrongfully terminated your employment, you could be entitled to sue for damages, including lost wages, benefits, and back-pay. You could also be entitled to compensation for your emotional distress and suffering, as well as legal fees and even punitive damages in rare cases.
At KJT Law Group, we represent workers throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area who have had their rights violated under California employment law. We can help you determine if you have grounds for a wrongful termination case against a past employer and, if so, we are ready to fight tirelessly for the justice you are owed.
Request a free, confidential consultation today by calling us at (818) 507-8525 or by reaching us online using our secure contact form.
What Is Wrongful Termination?
In California, most employers are able to hire and fire employees “at will.” This means your employer can let you go for virtually any reason—with some notable exceptions.
An employer may not fire you or otherwise end your employment based on any of the following:
A Protected Class:
“Protected classes” include race
, color, national origin, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, transgender status, pregnancy
, religion, disability
, medical condition, HIV/AIDS status, age (if 40 or older)
, genetic information, citizenship status, marital status, and status as a victim of domestic violence/stalking.
Retaliation: Your employer cannot fire you or otherwise end your employment because you reported discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, meal or rest break violations, minimum wage violations, overtime violations, or any other misconduct in the workplace. Doing so is considered retaliatory and is unlawful under both federal and state employment laws.
Whistleblowing: If you report your employer (or an individual at your job) for illegal conduct, you are protected by federal and state laws, including the California Whistleblower Protection Act. Your employer cannot legally fire you, let you go, or otherwise terminate your employment because you acted as a whistleblower.
Political Affiliation/Activities: Your political affiliation and political activities outside of the workplace are considered protected classes. Your employer cannot fire you or let you go based solely on your political views, beliefs, or your participation in political organizations, events, and other activities.
Time Off: Your employer is not allowed to fire you for requesting time off that you are legally entitled to take. This includes protected sick days, time off to vote or complete jury duty, military leave, lactation breaks, maternity leave, and time off protected under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Violations of Public Policy: In California, employers may not terminate employees in violation of public policy. Essentially, this means they cannot fire an employee for reasons that are protected by fundamental public policies, even if the employer has not technically violated the law. One common example is firing an employee who refused to do something illegal.
WARN Act Violations: California employers with 75 or more employees are required to provide notice at least 60 days prior to mass layoffs (50 or more employees), relocations of facilities, and/or facility closures under the Worker Retraining and Notification (WARN) Act. Employees who are not given proper notice can sue for lost wages and benefits.
If any of these factors were involved in an employer’s decision to terminate your employment, even if only to some extent, the termination is illegal. Reach out to our team at KJT Law Group today to speak to our Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers about your unique situation during a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
Are There Exceptions to At-Will Employment?
In California, there are some notable exceptions to at-will employment. These include:
Employment Contracts: If you have signed a contract with your employer detailing the parameters of your employment, including an end date and/or reasons for termination, you are not an at-will employee.
Implied Contracts: Some employers create “implied” contracts with their employees to not terminate employment without good cause. An example of this would be an employee handbook that details reasons why an employee may be fired.
Public Policy: As outlined above, an employer may not fire an employee in violation of public policy. This generally involves instances in which an employee refuses to help the employer commit illegal acts or carry out conduct that is socially unacceptable.
In such situations, at-will employment generally does not apply. You could have a wrongful termination case if your employer fired you or let you go in these or similar circumstances.
Call (818) 507-8525 or by submitting an contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.