California employment is ordinarily “at will,” meaning that your employer can terminate you for no reason or a reason that you do not like. However, employers are not allowed to terminate you in violation of a law, your employment contract, or public policy. If you were terminated unlawfully, you may be able to recover damages through a wrongful termination lawsuit. You should consult the California wrongful termination lawyers at the Knoll Law Group. Although our office is located in the California area, we represent employees across California.
You have been wrongfully terminated if you were let go or fired in violation of the law. Many wrongful termination lawsuits are brought because an employer terminated an employee based on the employee’s protected characteristics. Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination, including wrongful termination, based on various protected characteristics. Wrongful termination cases are embarrassing, and emotional for the employee to talk about. The attorneys at the Knoll Law Group are here to listen and help you through this tough time.
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act [FEHA] protects employees of employers that have at least five employees. Under FEHA, protected characteristics include color, race, national origin, religion, ancestry, citizenship status, age over 40, disability, genetic information, medical condition, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, AIDS/HIV status, political activities or affiliations, military or veteran status, and domestic violence victim status. FEHA also prohibits termination based on leave taken for certain reasons, such as pregnancy disability leave. A wrongful termination attorney at our Ventura County and Los Angeles firm can advise you on whether FEHA covers your termination.
Under FEHA, people with mental or physical disabilities may be entitled to a reasonable accommodation. Employers are supposed to engage in a good-faith interactive process to determine which reasonable accommodations would allow you to do your job. If you are let go because you asked for a reasonable accommodation for your disability, you may have a wrongful termination claim.
Your employer is also required to provide reasonable accommodations for your religious beliefs and practices. In addition to FEHA’s prohibition on religious discrimination, there is expansive workplace protection for religion, including religious dress and grooming practices, under the California Workplace Religious Freedom Act of 2012. If your employer fires you for asking for a reasonable accommodation for your religious practice or observance, you may have a claim for wrongful termination.
If you are fired because you have taken a job-protected leave, you should be able to recover damages in a lawsuit for wrongful termination. For example, if you took leave under the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, or the California Family Rights Act, our California wrongful termination attorneys can help you pursue a claim in the event that your employer fires you because you asserted your rights and took leave.
Sometimes employers agree in an employment agreement not to terminate an employee without “cause” or “good cause.” In that case, if you are terminated without cause or good cause, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. The language of the specific contract may dictate whether you have a claim. For example, if your executive contract specifies that you will not be terminated within a three-year period except for good cause, and good cause is defined as misconduct or illegal actions, but you are terminated without having engaged in misconduct or illegal actions, you would have a wrongful termination claim.
In California, you should not be terminated in violation of public policy. An example of this would be if your employer fired you because you refused to violate a law. Another example would be if you were terminated for reporting a potential legal violation by your employer.
You depend on your job for income. Many people do not have enough saved in case they are unexpectedly terminated. Your employer should not fire you or let you go in violation of your employment agreement, the law, or public policy. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, reach out to the Knoll Law Group about your situation. Call our firm at (818) 610-0955 or complete our online form. Our wrongful termination lawyers serve employees in Ventura County and Los Angeles, as well as elsewhere in California.