Los Angeles Wrongful Termination
Representing California employees in wrongful termination claims
Wrongful termination means that an employee was fired from their job for an unlawful reason. Generally speaking, employers can let people go for any reason—or no reason at all—as long as the reason does not violate an employment law, employment contract, or public policy. In those situations, the law gives employees the right to take legal action and seek legal relief for their wrongful termination.
Wrongful termination claims can be highly complicated and challenging to prove, especially because most employers will fight liability. You always want to make sure you have the top wrongful termination lawyers in California on your side. Contact Blair & Ramirez LLP so our legal team can evaluate your situation and rights today.
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Termination that violates employment laws
There are many different laws in California that provide a wide range of rights for employees. Not only can employers violate these laws during your employment, but they can also do so in the act of terminating your employment. The following sections include several examples of how wrongful termination occurs in this manner. To discuss your specific situation, contact our top employment lawyers in Los Angeles.
Both state and federal laws prohibit discrimination in employment, and California employers may not base any employment decisions on an employee’s:
- Sex or gender
- Pregnancy or childbirth
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
- Gender expression or gender identity
- Age (for people over age 40)
- Race and color
- Religion or creed
- National origin
- Physical or mental disability
- Medical condition
- Genetic information
- Military status or veteran status
If you believe that your employer terminated you based on any of the above factors—actual or perceived—you should not delay in discussing the matter with an experienced attorney.
Harassment and hostile work environments
Even though every employer should know that harassment based on the above-mentioned factors is strictly prohibited, harassment continues to happen in workplaces here in Los Angeles. Sexual harassment is especially prevalent. There are different ways that harassment can lead to wrongful termination:
Your boss engages in “quid pro quo” harassment
Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves someone with authority over your job making sexual activity a condition of your employment. A common form involves your boss firing you because you refused to engage in sexual conduct when requested. If you are fired for such a refusal, this constitutes wrongful termination.
Constructive discharge due to a hostile work environment
If harassment at work is pervasive or offensive enough to create a hostile work environment, your employer might not take necessary steps to stop the harassment when you report it. Some employees feel they have no choice but to quit their jobs as the only means of escaping harassment. This is called constructive discharge, and it is a form of wrongful termination.
It is unlawful for employers to retaliate against an employee for engaging in a lawfully protected activity. Employees may be discriminated against after they report discrimination, file a complaint, take FMLA leave, file a wage and hour claim, report violations of labor laws, or participate in an investigation.
For example, if you file a complaint regarding offensive jokes around the office, your employer cannot fire you or assign you to less desirable work. In many cases, attempts at retaliation are very subtle, and employers may even try to hide their retaliatory actions by claiming that they were legitimate business decisions. For this reason, if you have experienced any adverse employment actions or felt that you have been sidelined from projects after involvement in a lawfully protected activity, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can.
The law protects employees who are courageous enough to come forward and report unlawful conduct by their employers to the proper authorities. If your employer fires you because you exposed illegal activity (which is called whistleblowing), you have a claim for wrongful termination.
Termination that breaches an employment contract
While most employment in California is considered to be “at-will,” some employers and employees sign contracts with provisions to the contrary. They can also have implied contracts. Often, these contracts are for a specified period of time, during which an employer may not fire the employee without good cause. If your employer terminated you without an appropriate reason and you have an active employment contract, you should speak with wrongful termination lawyers in Los Angeles as soon as possible.
Termination that goes against public policy
Sometimes, termination might not go against a specific provision of employment law, but it might violate public policy that is in place to support the public good. Some reasons for being fired that might fall into this category of wrongful termination include:
- An employee refuses to engage in unethical or unlawful activity when requested by an employer.
- An employee exercises their legal rights or duties, such as voting or serving on a jury.
- The employee engages in certain lawful activities outside the workplace.