What is Considered Wrongful Termination in California?

Author: Mesriani Law Group
Posted on: February 24, 2021

In California, employees can file a wrongful termination claim if he or she has been laid off or fired for an illegal reason. Many employees believe that their employer can terminate their employment for any reason. This is not accurate. While employers have many legal reasons to terminate an employment contract, there are several exceptions.

As an employee in the state of California, you should understand your employment rights. In the event that you have been unfairly treated, you should know that you may have legal options. 

Definition of At-Will Employment

In California, most workers are employed at will. At-will employment means that either the employee or employer may terminate employment for almost any reason and at any time. While giving two weeks’ notice is a generally accepted practice, neither party is required to give any notice before ending the employment relationship.

Many employees believe that their job is protected as long as they don’t break company rules or engage in some type of wrongdoing. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Exceptions to At-Will Employment

While most California employment relationships can be terminated at any time (at-will), there are several exceptions which include:

  • Public sector employees – Most employees working in the public sector are protected by contracts or a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between their union and the government agency. The MOU will outline the terms of employment including termination.
  • Executive employees – High-level executives usually have written employment contracts that require good cause for termination.
  • Protected class – Employers cannot fire an employee based on their age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected characteristic.

If you’re an employee in any of the above categories and have been fired or laid off, our employment lawyers can help you understand your legal options. 

Common Unlawful Termination Claims

California employers can only terminate an employee for legal reasons. If an employee was laid off or fired for an illegal reason, he or she may be able to file a wrongful case against the employer.

Common claims for illegal termination include:

  • Termination after whistleblowing
  • Termination in violation of local, state, or federal laws
  • Termination in violation of a public policy (race, gender, national origin motivations)
  • Termination in violation of an implied employment contract
  • Termination for reporting a work injury

Another common claim for illegal termination includes exercising rights under the California employee workplace leave laws. Under California law, employees have the right to take leave for certain events including sick leave, family leave, new parent leave, to vote , and bereavement leave.

If your employer terminates your employment for exercising any of these rights, you might have a legal claim. An employment attorney can help you understand your legal options and the types of compensation you could be entitled to.

Consult with an Employment Attorney Today

If you’ve been wrongly terminated, our employment law group can help. And although employment cases can be difficult to prove, our expert attorneys have the skills to get you the justice you deserve. We are confident that our experienced Los Angeles attorneys can obtain the maximum compensation for your case and offer a No Win, No Fee guarantee. Contact Mesriani Law Group today for your free legal consultation and let us help you get the justice you deserve.