Wrongful Termination Lawyers in San Diego Helping California Workers Fight Back Against Unethical or Illegal Terminations
California has some of the nation’s most robust employment laws, protecting workers from discrimination and unfair practices such as wrongful termination. But what happens when your employer acts illegally and terminates your employment contract for discriminatory reasons? Learn how wrongful termination cases work in California and what you can do to defend your rights and fight back.
What Is Considered Wrongful Termination in California?
When an employer violates a fundamental public policy based on a constitutional or statutory provision, that employer may have engaged in wrongful termination. Firing an employee for discriminatory reasons or as a means to retaliate against that employee for whistleblowing or taking a protected family or medical leave is usually considered wrongful termination.
Simply put, wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired for unlawful reasons. While California is an at-will employment state, meaning employees may resign or be terminated at any time. For any reason, there are state and federal employment laws that make it unlawful for employers to terminate workers simply because of their age, disability, pregnancy, or other protected characteristics.
What Are Some Examples of Unlawful Reasons for Terminating an Employee?
California laws prohibit employers from firing employees based on protected characteristics such as age, race, color, nationality, gender, religious creed, disability (mental and physical), military status (including veterans), marital status, medical condition, and other protected reasons. For example, if the company has a policy of terminating employees that are 10 min late on more than three occasions, the policy should apply to all employees.
Suppose you are about 20 years older than your co-workers and a military veteran. You ended up being terminated on your third late arrival, even though you followed company policy and called in. However, you notice your younger co-workers have arrived late several times and were never penalized. It could be inferred that your boss has fired you for unlawful reasons. Likewise, if you were fired after reporting unsafe or unfavorable work conditions or were forced to quit after having your FMLA leave request denied, you may also be dealing with a wrongful termination case and should seek the help of a wrongful termination attorney.
What Do I Need to Prove in a Wrongful Termination Case?
In a wrongful termination case, the plaintiff (the employee) carries the burden of evidence, meaning it is up to the wrongfully terminated employee to come up with the evidence to support their claim. For that reason, it is essential to document your complaints and record as much about the situation as possible. Print or save copies of work emails and email threads, take pictures and videos whenever possible, and hold on to your employee handbook and any other relevant documents, such as employment contracts and positive performance reviews.
It is not uncommon for an employee with a stellar record to suddenly receive unfair criticism from HR and supervisors after making a complaint or reporting to the employer for unsafe or unfair work conditions. This sometimes creates an extremely hostile work environment that forces the employee to resign. Keep a record of your positive achievements and performance and comparable data of other employees in a similar position as yours. If other employees get promoted or receive preferred treatment while having similar or poorer work performance than you, you may have enough evidence to initiate a case against your employer. Reach out to a wrongful termination attorney as soon as possible.
How Much Is My Wrongful Termination Case Worth?
Each wrongful termination case is different, so it is hard to estimate an accurate case value without carefully analyzing your case. In general, an employee who can successfully prove they have been wrongfully terminated may be entitled to receiving a variety of damages, including economic damages such as lost wages and other financial losses resulting from the termination; non-economic damages including emotional distress, inconvenience and loss of enjoyment of life; employment law attorney fees and court costs, and punitive damages (when applicable). In some cases, the employer may also be ordered to reinstate the employee to their original job.
If you are planning to take legal action against your employer for wrongful termination, it is vital to speak to a wrongful termination attorney as soon as possible because your wrongful termination case is subject to a statute of limitations of three years. At Khosroabadi & Hill, our attorneys have helped several wrongfully-terminated San Diego employees to hold their employers responsible and receive maximum compensation while, in some cases, being able to return to their jobs. If you suspect your employer has acted unlawfully and fired you due to discriminatory or retaliatory reasons, there is no need to try and figure it out on your own or let them get away with their wrongful actions. Reach out to the attorneys at Khosroabadi & Hill at 858-240-2093.