What You Need to Know About Wrongful Termination Laws in California
California employers often trample worker’s rights by the means of wrongful termination. If you are employed in California, it is imperative to know your rights and understand when you can file a wrongful termination lawsuit. Here’s everything you need to know about wrongful termination laws in California.
California wrongful termination laws allows individuals to file lawsuits against their employers for wrongful termination. The most common grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit are whistleblowing, resistance to sexual harassment or advancement, right assertion, or discrimination. LGBT individuals are often the targets of workplace discrimination. If you feel you are a victim of wrongful termination, you may be entitled to compensation. Do not let your current or former employer trample your legal work rights.
When can I sue my employer for wrongful termination?
Whistleblowing occurs when an employee reports a breach of law to a government enforcement agency. According to California Labor Code 1102.5, employees can not be terminated for whistleblowing.
Sarah, who works for an international accounting firm, witnesses acts of fraud and embezzlement by her fellow employees and supervisors. Sarah immediately contacts the FBI, who places the company under investigation. One week later, Sarah is told not to return to work, and is not given a reason as to why. Sarah can file a wrongful termination lawsuit against her employer.
Breach of Contract
A breach of contract occurs when an employer promised or led the employee to believe he or she would have a long future at the company. Evidence to support a breach of contract does not always need to be in contract form. Courts often use emails, text messages, or actual contracts as evidence in wrongful termination lawsuits.
Kevin is seeking a job as an accountant. He interviews for a company called Real Estate, Inc.. His interviewer, Courtney, tells Kevin that the company is looking for a full-time, long-term accountant. She also implies the position is long-term in emails and text messages. Kevin is hired for the job. He is then terminated after three months of working for Real Estate Inc. When he asks why he was terminated, his supervisors tell him that his position was temporary. Kevin can file a wrongful termination lawsuit against Real Estate, Inc. on the grounds of breach of implied contract.
Resistance to Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is illegal no matter the situation, let alone in the workplace. Employees are often placed in uncomfortable situations, typically where a higher level employee will conduct sexual advances, jokes, or harassment in a way that is professionally unacceptable.
Pride Legal’s member attorneys recall countless instances where their clients were fired for rejecting a supervisor’s sexual advances. California employees must understand that this type of wrongful termination is purely unacceptable and must be met with action whenever faced.
If you feel you have been wrongfully terminated due to a rejection of sexual advancements made by an individual in your workspace, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Mike is an employee at an esteemed accounting firm. Joshua, his boss, has made clear sexual advances toward Mike, and has even touched Mike’s buttocks and other areas. Mike has been resistant and displayed major discomfort during these acts, but kept quiet. One day, after being harassed, Mike firmly tells Joshua that his sexual advances make him feel uncomfortable and demands that he stop. A few days later, Mike is terminated from the accounting firm. When asked why Mike was terminated, Joshua explains that Mike attacked him and was a threat to other employees. Mike can file a wrongful termination lawsuit against the accounting firm on the basis of sexual harassment.
As an employee, you have certain rights. Depending on the circumstances of your occupation, this can include the right to take sick leave, the right to take maternity leave, overtime, rest breaks, etc. According to California wrongful termination laws, if your employer fires you in response to upholding these legal work rights, you can file a wrongful termination lawsuit against them.
All California employees are guaranteed one ten minute or more rest break for every 4 hours they work. Jennifer, a California employee, takes a 10 minute coffee break everyday during her 4 hour shift. Almost everyday, Carl, her boss, tells her she is not allowed to take rest breaks and must get back to work. Jennifer refuses, and Carl terminates her employment as a result. Rachel can file a wrongful termination lawsuit against her employer on the basis of rights violation.
Discrimination due to sexual orientation, race, age, disability, gender, marital status, religion, political views, or HIV status is illegal in the workplace. LGBT employees are often victims of wrongful termination due to blatant discrimination against their sexual orientation or preferred gender. Although, in most cases, employers will not outspokenly point to your sexual orientation or gender identity as the reason for your termination, discrimination can be proven in court.
Max, a known homophobic, is the owner of Fruity Juices, a juice shop in Los Angeles. Jeff, an employee of Fruity Juices, is gay. Fearing termination, Jeff hides his sexual orientation from Max. However, Jeff confides in Arnie that he is, in fact, gay. Arnie tells this to Max, who fires Jeff immediately. When Jeff asks Max why he has been terminated, Max tells Jeff that Fruity Juices is overstaffed. Jeff can file a wrongful termination lawsuit against Max on the basis of sexual orientation discrimination.
How do I file a wrongful termination lawsuit in California?
Pride Legal suggests hiring an attorney to represent you in your wrongful termination lawsuit. Hiring an attorney not only increases your chances of getting a high settlement, but also gives you the ease of mind you need in such a difficult, stressful time. If you feel you have been wrongfully terminated, contact a Wrongful Termination Attorney immediately. The longer you wait to file your lawsuit, the less chance you will receive compensation for your damages.
Before contacting a lawyer, it would be beneficial to gather all evidence related to your case. This can include emails, text messages, contracts, letters, or other evidence that would establish grounds for your wrongful termination lawsuit.
Although they may be hard to recall, conversations often serve as sufficient evidence in wrongful termination cases. If you have had a conversation with your employer that would establish or strengthen grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit, journal as much as you can. Your recollections may come in handy in the courtroom or in settlement.
How much compensation can I receive in a wrongful termination lawsuit against my employer?
The exact figure of your settlement completely depends upon the circumstances at hand. Wrongfully terminated employees typically may receive compensation for
- Loss of income
- Loss of future income
- Loss of benefits
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Attorney fees
- Punitive damages
Contact Pride Legal
If you or a loved one has been wrongfully terminated, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.