Employees in any industry in California have rights. Although many are at-will workers, meaning that resignations and terminations may happen at will, employees are protected from wrongful termination. However, when is a termination wrongful or illegal? One reason for dismissal that might lead to a lawsuit is claiming just cause, typically meaning disclosing confidential business issues, willful misconduct or persistent performance failure. Such accusations must be proved.
Labor law protects workers against termination for concerted activity. This involves discussions with co-workers about wages and working conditions. Whistleblowers are also protected from being fired in retaliation, and a worker’s medical history or genetic information may not serve as grounds for dismissal.
Discrimination is frequently cited as cause for wrongful termination suits. Workers get fired due to their race, citizenship status, sexuality, gender, religion and more. Pregnancy may also not be the reason for dismissal. Workers who suspect they might be terminated may be advised to gather information and save any conversations and emails that might be used as evidence later. Writing down what transpired before and during the termination, and keeping any documents that formed part of the dismissal can also be helpful.
Taking a stand against an employer could be daunting. However, support and guidance are available from an attorney who has experience in dealing with wrongful termination cases in California. The attorney can assess the circumstances and examine the allegations before determining the viability of a civil lawsuit. A lawyer can fight for the rights of the worker and aim to obtain fair compensation or reinstatement if that is appropriate.
Source: theinscribermag.com, “Wrongful Termination: What To Do If You’ve Been Wrongly Terminated From Work“, Timothy Garret, March 7, 2018