In 2021 alone, over 61,000 businesses were charged with violating employment laws. Many of these violations involved wrongful termination. The most claims involved discrimination on the basis of race or sex. However, clearly there are many employees who discriminated against but did not file claims. If the employee is fired, the discrimination claim morphs into a wrongful termination claim.
There is no reason for wrongfully terminated employees to sit back and accept mistreatment – especially not when you can easily get in touch with a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney at firms like Fraigun Law Group. But what is wrongful termination? Can you sue for wrongful termination? Let’s find out:
How Do You Know if You Have Been Wrongfully Terminated?
In California, there are dozens of reasons that may be the basis for wrongful termination. However, if you were fired for no reason or for an unfair reason, that may or may not be the basis for a wrongful termination claim. Generally, there is also no requirement for an employer to provide a reason for a termination.
On the other hand, an employee can not be terminated because they complained of illegal conduct or because of their race, gender, religious beliefs, disability, etc. Employers may also be liable for wrongful termination if they retaliate against workers for taking certain actions. In some cases, employees can be wrongfully terminated for not taking certain actions – such as engaging in illegal activity.
There are many bases of wrongful termination. The important takeaway here is that if you think you have been wrongfully terminated, you should speak with a Los Angeles employment lawyer to evaluate your case.
Wrongful Termination Comes in Many Forms
If you are having trouble picturing what might constitute wrongful termination, it helps to review a few common examples:
- You were fired for being a whistleblower: Whistleblowers are protected under California law. If you find out that your company is doing something illegal, you can complain. Your employer is strictly forbidden from retaliating against you in any way – including termination.
- You were fired for educating your co-workers about their rights: California law also protects people from being fired after organizing labor movements or educating their fellow workers about their rights.
- You were fired for being pregnant: California protects women from being discriminated against on the basis of their pregnancy. Firing a woman for being pregnant is gender-based discrimination and an example of wrongful termination.
- You were fired after developing lung cancer: In California, it is illegal to fire people because they have developed certain medical conditions. For example, you might have developed lung cancer after years of working with asbestos. If your employer learns about this diagnosis and immediately fires you in an effort to avoid workers’ compensation obligations, this is wrongful termination.
Can You File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit?
If you are still wondering when you can sue for wrongful termination, you might want to consider the various “protected classes” in California:
- Gender identity
- Gender expression
- Marital status
- Medical condition
- Military status
- Veteran status
- Language use
- Genetic information
- Needing and requesting family care leave
- Needing and requesting leave for health conditions
- Needing and requesting leave for pregnancy disability
- Reporting patient abuse
The Golden State recognizes more protected classes than many other states throughout the nation.
What is NOT Wrongful Termination?
Here are some examples of what doesn’t count as wrongful termination:
- Fired for Vague Reasons: Your employer can technically fire you for extremely vague reasons. Comments like “It’s just not working out” or “The company is choosing to go in a different direction” are common. Depending upon your industry, you could also be fired for “artistic differences.” Unfortunately, there’s no way to file a wrongful termination lawsuit in this situation – unless you can prove that the real reason was illegal.
- Fired for being late: Being constantly late for work is a valid enough reason to fire an employee. It has nothing to do with discrimination, and California protects businesses that need to maintain high levels of efficiency.
- Fired for poor performance: You may also be fired for poor performance. For example, if you are tasked with packing a certain number of boxes per day, and you fail to meet the minimum quota, your employer could be justified in terminating your employment.
- Fired for distributing disturbing material: In California, your freedom of speech and your right to organize with fellow employees is protected. But this does not allow you to distribute disturbing, lewd, or offensive material in your workplace. For example, you might be fired after placing an inappropriate picture on the wall of your office, and your employer would be perfectly justified in doing so. On the other hand, you may have a wrongful termination case if you’re fired for putting up a religious picture on the wall of your office.
- Fired for refusing to work: You have the right to refuse unsafe or illegal work in California. But that does not mean that you can simply refuse to work whenever you feel like it. If your boss tells you to do something and you say no, you need a valid reason. Otherwise, your termination will be justified.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Termination Suit?
The statute of limitations is a time limit that prevents you from suing after a certain amount of time has passed. If you intend to pursue your rights, it is critical that you speak to an attorney as soon as possible so that all relevant evidence can be preserved and you do not go beyond the applicable statute of limitations.
What is an “At-Will” Employment State?
The term “at-will” employment refers to the most common system followed by most states in the nation. Under this system, either the employee or the employer may terminate the employment at any time. There is no legal requirement to continue this relationship. The employee can quit or the employer can fire the worker.
If You Were Fired for No Reason, it Might Be Wrongful Termination
If you were fired for no apparent reason, it might still be worth looking into your situation with help from an attorney. A legal professional can help you determine the true reason for your termination. For example, you may have been terminated due to some inherent bias or discriminatory belief system.
How Can You Prove Wrongful Termination?
The best way to prove wrongful termination is to get help from a qualified, experienced lawyer. These legal professionals can look into your situation more accurately and gather important evidence.
How Much is Your Wrongful Termination Claim Worth?
Your compensation depends entirely on your unique situation. You may claim a range of damages that are both economic and non-economic. Your economic damages involve your lost wages – what you would have earned had you not been fired. But you may also claim non-economic damages, such as emotional distress and humiliation.
Isn’t an Attorney Expensive?
Wrongful termination attorneys are hired via a contingency fee. This means that you do not pay until you win or settle your lawsuit. At that point, your lawyer takes a percentage of your compensation award.
Fraigun Law Can Help You in Your Wrongful Termination Case
Fraigun Law Group has extensive experience with wrongful termination lawsuits, and we have helped hundreds of plaintiffs get justice. We know how traumatic and life-altering a wrongful termination can be, and we can help you fight for your rights.
Take Action Today
Do you suspect you were wrongfully terminated? The only way to know for sure is to get in touch with a qualified, experienced wrongful termination lawyer at Fraigun Law Group. Book your consultation now to get started.