Can an Employer Fire You for No Reason? The Answer May Shock You

Can An Employer Fire You For No Reason


Losing your job is bad enough, but what happens when your boss doesn’t provide you with a valid reason for your dismissal? You end up walking away with more questions than answers, which is never a good feeling. But can an employer fire you for no reason? Is this really legal in California? How can you pursue justice if you have been subjected to mistreatment?

The first step is to determine whether you experienced illegal treatment under California labor laws. The answer to this question depends on your unique circumstances, and this is why it is always a good idea to discuss your situation with a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney.


At-Will Employment Explained

If you think that you may have been wrongfully terminated in California, you should first try to gain an understanding of at-will employment, which is the system of employment followed by California. The term “at-will” refers to the nature at which employers and employees can end their relationships. It means that at any point in time, a boss can fire their worker for no real reason. It also means that at any point in time, a worker can simply walk away from their job without warning.

But what about the two weeks’ notice standard you’ve always heard about?  Is it true that you need to give your employer two weeks’ notice? Does your boss need to give you two weeks’ notice before firing you? In most situations, the answer is “no.” You can simply wake up one morning, decide that you want to change your career, and quit your job. Your boss cannot press charges or sue you for this.

However, if you signed an employment contract or another agreement with your company, you may not be an “at-will” employee.  If an employment contract exists, California’s at-will laws are superseded, and you will need to refer instead to the specific guidelines and conditions laid out in your contract. In some cases, it may be possible for a company to sue you for not giving adequate notice. On the other hand, you may be able to sue your employer for not providing notice if this is a guaranteed right under your employment contract.

It is also worth noting that even with the absence of an employment contract, there are still exceptions to the at-will system under California law. These include:

  • Public Policy Exceptions: The public policy exception allows you to sue your employer if they fire you for reasons that violate public policy. For example, your employer might have asked you to do something illegal as part of your job – such as dumping chemicals in a lake or collecting customer credit card numbers without their consent. If you refuse to do this work and you are fired as a result, you can sue.
  • Implied Contract Exceptions: This is a tricky one. An implied contract is not written down or recorded, and it takes the form of subtle hints and suggestions. For example, your employer might have hinted that you were next in line to take over for a retiring director of marketing. Or they might have promised you a bonus if you made 2,000 sales in one month. If they fail to follow through on these promises, you could potentially sue for wrongful termination in many cases.
  • Retaliation Due to Discrimination: This is one of the most common reasons for wrongful termination lawsuits. Under this exception, you can sue your employer if they fired you for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. For example, someone might have fired you after they found out you were Jewish. Or perhaps they fired you after they discovered you were a trans individual. This is illegal under California law.


Justifiable Reasons For Termination

Here are some examples of justifiable reasons for termination:

  • Lateness: Since our first days at school, we have all been taught that being late is not okay. If you are consistently showing up late for work, your boss is perfectly justified in ending your employment. Remember, they have a business to run.
  • Refusing to Work: You can refuse to carry out unsafe or illegal work, but you cannot simply refuse to do your job for no good reason. If you are not getting anything done and you do not have a good enough justification, your boss can fire you.
  • Harassing Others: If you are causing issues in the workplace and making your fellow employees feel uncomfortable or unsafe, your boss can fire you. In fact, they may get into legal trouble if they do not fire you.
  • Lying: Lying to your boss is not a good idea, and it could get you fired.
  • Theft: Stealing company property is another misstep that can result in termination, and your boss is perfectly justified in firing you for this behavior.
  • Property Destruction: Destroying company property may also result in justifiable termination. For example, you might have accidentally set a fire in a warehouse, causing the destruction of millions of dollars worth of items.
  • Poor Performance: Employers demand high levels of performance from their workers. If they set certain quotas and targets that you fail to meet, you may be fired as a result.


Wrongful Termination of Employees

So what exactly does the wrongful termination of employees look like? Here are a few examples:

  • Fired for being pregnant
  • Fired for being gay
  • Fired for being Asian
  • Fired for being a woman
  • Fired for reporting illegal conduct
  • Fired for refusing to engage in illegal activities
  • Fired in violation of an employment contract
  • Fired for religious beliefs
  • Fired for reporting harassment
  • Fired for reporting discrimination
  • Fired for discussing wages with other employees
  • Fired for requesting overtime pay
  • Fired for complaining about violence in the workplace
  • Fired for testifying against your company at a hearing or trial
  • Fired for taking medical leave as guaranteed under California law
  • Fired for attending mandatory jury duty
  • Fired for participating in investigations and cooperating with investigators looking into your company


There are many other examples of wrongful termination, and you should definitely get in touch with a lawyer to determine if your unique situation constitutes wrongful termination. Even if it is not mentioned specifically here, you may have experienced this misconduct without realizing it.


Can You Get Fired Without Getting Written Up?

Yes. Under California’s at-will employment system, you can simply show up for work one day and discover you have been fired for no real reason. Even if your performance has been nothing short of exemplary, your boss can terminate you without even giving you notice. The exception, of course, is if you have an employment contract that states otherwise.


Can I Sue My Employer for Wrongful Termination?

The only way to find out whether you can sue for wrongful termination is to speak with an attorney about your situation. You should also determine whether you are legally classified as an “employee” or an “independent contractor,” as only the former enjoys protection against wrongful termination. That being said, you can be “misclassified” as an independent contractor in some situations, which may allow you to sue even if your company does not consider you to be an employee. It also helps to understand the difference between “exempt” and “non-exempt” employees in California.

The details of California’s “exempt” and “non-exempt” worker classification can be very complex, and this is why it’s so important to speak with your attorney to understand whether you can sue.


Can You Be Fired for Refusing to Take a Lie Detector Test?

You cannot be fired for refusing to take a lie detector test.


Can You Be Fired for Complaining about OSHA Violations?

No, you cannot be fired for complaining about safety violations in California.


Can My Employer Lie About Why I’m Being Fired?

They can lie – but this is only illegal if you can prove that the real reason for your termination was something different and illegal. Unfortunately, many employers get away with lying about the true reasons for terminations.


What if My Employer Breached the Employment Contract?

If your employer breached your employment contract, you can sue.


Why Should a Person Hire Fraigun Law for a Wrongful Termination Case? 

If you are searching for a Los Angeles employment lawyer who can help with your wrongful termination lawsuit, choose Fraigun Law. We have the experience and qualifications necessary to guide you toward the best results, and we have been fighting for employee rights for years.

If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated from your position in California, you must reach out to a qualified, experienced employment law attorney in California. Fraigun Law Group can assist you with this matter. You deserve to hold your employer accountable if they have unjustly terminated you.




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