When is Being Fired a Wrongful Termination?

Do you believe that you have been fired unlawfully? You may be able to build a wrongful termination case to reclaim your job or collect punitive damages. Our employment lawyers can provide legal advice and possible remedies.

The truth is most people who have been fired feel that they have been wronged. Unfortunately, labor law doesn’t establish many illegal reasons for firing someone. Therefore, wrongful termination claims are generally not appropriate except under very specific circumstances.

In California, employment is “at-will.” That means employers can often freely fire someone unless there is an express or implied contract that requires “cause” or “good cause” for termination.

In other words, it can be difficult to prove actual wrongful termination. To succeed in a wrongful termination lawsuit, you may need to establish that some form of discrimination occurred.

Alternatively, you can show that you were fired in violation of state and federal laws such as whistleblower protection laws that forbid retaliation or laws that more broadly protect workers from employment discrimination.

Illegal causes for firing include:

  1. Reporting illegal activity by co-workers, managers, or owners (whistleblowing)
  2. The employees status in a protected class (race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, or other factors)
  3. Filing a workers’ compensation claim
  4. Reporting sexual harassment or other workplace misconduct
  5. Testifying in a sexual harassment investigation
  6. Taking medical leave under the FMLA to recover from an illness or personal injury

Some employment contracts do require legitimate cause for termination. The typical employee should not be expected to fully understand the nuances of the law governing wrongful termination. 

To learn about your rights and legal options, your best course of action may be to take the time to discuss your situation with an experienced employment law attorney.

Contact the Sacramento law firm of Perkins Asbill to schedule an informative initial consultation.

Retaliatory Actions

Discharge or wrongful termination is not the only retaliatory measure employers have been known to take against an employee who reports unlawful conduct in the workplace. 

Demotion, a pay cut, downsizing, or a transfer that negatively impacts an employee’s pay may all be considered retaliatory actions.

Other forms of retaliation may include personal attacks on an employee’s character or job record. Retaliation cases can become exceedingly complex and contentious. It is vitally important to seek experienced representation early in the process.

Speak to a Wrongful Termination Attorney

With more than 30 years of employment law as one of our primary practice areas, our wrongful termination lawyers know how to work through the intricacies of the California Labor Code, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and other applicable laws. 

The team at our Professional Law Corporation can step in quickly to protect your rights against employer retaliation and wrongful termination. Let our legal team stand by your side against your former employer. 

We take the attorney-client relationship seriously, and we will work to protect you by applying the full protections of wrongful termination law. Our Sacramento attorneys are available to help you across the state, from Northern California to San Francisco and Los Angeles.   To get started, arrange a confidential consultation by calling our law office at (916) 446-2000.