In most cases, being terminated from your job is a painful experience. Loss of income and benefits, damage to one’s professional reputation, difficulty finding new employment, depression, and anxiety are just a few of the problems that can arise when a job loss occurs.
What can a former employee do when he or she believes his or her termination to be unjust? What rights do workers have that protect them from unlawful termination? Many people call our office to discuss this issue. Let’s discuss some of the myths and facts surrounding the concept of “wrongful termination.”
An employee who is doing a good job, and is well-liked by his or her coworkers, cannot be legally terminated.
California is an “at-will employment” state. Employees can generally be terminated without warning, and for any reason that does not violate the law, or the employee’s contract. Employers do not have to establish “just cause” for these terminations.
It is worthwhile to sue a former employer for wrongful termination, just to teach him or her a lesson about justice and “bring the truth to light.”
The litigation process can be time consuming, arduous, and expensive. It is, therefore, usually only worthwhile to sue a former employer if there are financial damages to be recovered (past and future loss of earnings, emotional distress damages, etc.)
All terminations are legitimate, in California.
Terminations that violate the law, or an employee’s contract, are not permissible. For example, employees cannot be terminated because they request reasonable accommodation for a disability, time off for healthcare treatment, work breaks to pump and store breast milk, pregnancy, or because of their age, sex, gender expression, religious faith, ethnicity, political beliefs, citizenship status, medical diagnoses, marital status, sexual orientation, military experience, status as a domestic violence/stalking victim, or because of some other legally “protected” status or activity. Contact an employment attorney to discuss your specific situation.
If a terminated employee finds another job right away, there is no reason to consult an attorney.
Sometimes, this is true, but not in every case. It is always appropriate to speak with an attorney if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated.
If you are concerned that your termination was unlawful, call or email Palay Hefelfinger APC to speak to an attorney. We are here to help.
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