Were you recently fired from your job? If so, you may be wondering “can I sue my employer for firing me?” If you were laid off or fired from job recently, it is very important to understand whether or not your employer’s reasons for firing you were illegal.
In California, employment is considered “at will.” This means that an employee may be let-go for any reason. Likewise, the employee can quit for any reason, as well. However, there are exceptions to this rule. There are certain situations where it is illegal for an employer to fire an employee even if the employment is considered to be “at will.”
If you are fired or let-go for any of the following reasons, then you may have an unlawful termination claim. Our wrongful termination lawyers in Los Angeles can help.
In California, as in other states, employers cannot fire an employee for any of the following reasons:
- Race or Color
- National origin
- Citizenship status
- Sexual orientation or gender identity
- Medical status
- Political beliefs
- Military status
In addition, if you are the victim of domestic violence, assault or stalking, then these cannot be reasons for termination under California law. If you were recently fired for any of the above reasons then you may have a very good wrongful termination lawsuit.
Breach of Contract
If you have a contract that makes certain promises and your employer does not follow through on the promises, then you might have what is known as a contract claim. For instance, if your contract states that your employment is for a period of 24 months and your employer lets you go after 6 months because they no longer need your services, then you might have a contract claim.
Refusing to Perform Illegal Acts
An employer may not fire any employee who refuses to commit an illegal act or unethical behavior. For instance, if your employer asks you to lie to federal regulators who come to inspect your workplace, your employer cannot fire you if you refuse to do this. If you are fired for refusing to engage in unethical or illegal behavior on behalf of your employer, you might have the right to damages for lost wages and damages for emotional distress.
Your employer cannot fire you as retaliation for trying to exercise your rights. For instance, if you complain to human resources that you are being harassed by your manager, your manager cannot then turn around and fire you as retaliation. Also, you cannot be fired for filing a worker’s compensation claim or complaining about safety in the workplace. Sometimes employers fire workers for engaging in protests and other things off-duty. In California, this is illegal. You have the right to engage in activities outside of work, as long as they are legal—even if your employer doesn’t agree with the event or activity.
If your employer fires you as retaliation of any kind, you may be able to file a lawsuit. If you win, you could possibly collect lost wages, attorney’s fees, emotional distress damages and more.
Taking Time Off Work
Certain laws give employees the right to take time off of work for personal reasons and civic responsibilities. Employers cannot fire workers for requesting family medical leave, jury duty leave or military leave. Also, California law gives employees the right to take off to vote. Other types of leave may be protected, including taking time off for drug or alcohol rehabilitation. If you are fired for taking time off for work, it is a good idea to contact a wrongful termination lawyer to see if you have a claim against your former employer.
It is best to act quickly if you believe that you have been unjustly terminated. In some cases, you must file a lawsuit within a certain period of time to receive compensation for your claim.
The best course of action is to seek the help of an experienced California wrongful termination attorney. A lawyer may be able to help you get compensation for court fees and costs, lost wages, damages for emotional distress and possibly even punitive damages.
To learn more about wrongful termination California, contact the Consumer Action Law Group at 818-254-8413. One of our knowledgeable attorneys will review the California labor laws wrongful termination to assess the strength of your claim. Then, they will talk to you about your options so that you can get the justice that you deserve.