In an economy with a high rate of job turnover, employees are often terminated from their jobs for a number of reasons. Losing a job can be a frustrating and emotional experience, resulting in a knee-jerk reaction to view the termination as “wrongful” because it seems unfair. Regardless of how unfairly a terminated employee may feel they have been treated, it is important to understand that the law recognizes a limited amount of reasons for termination as wrongful.
Under California law, the vast majority of employees are considered “at will.” “At will” employment means that an employee’s job is not governed by a contract outlining how and when they can be terminated from their job. Without these guidelines, an “at will” employee can be fired for any reason, as long as it does not violate public policy.
California law recognizes four main examples of termination in violation of public policy.
- Terminating an employee for refusing to violate the law
- Terminating an employee for performing a legal obligation
- Terminating an employee for exercising a legal or constitutional right
- Terminating an employee for reporting a violation of the law
In addition to these reasons, a termination based on discrimination, such as race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, physical and mental disability, age, or religion is also treated as wrongful.
If You Have Been Wrongfully Terminated, We Can Help
Employees subject to wrongful termination may be eligible to recover damages from their employer.
If you believe that you are the victim of wrongful termination, contact The Law Office of Robert L. Starr for a free, confidential case evaluation.