Wrongful Termination

gen-imgCalifornia is an “at will” employment state, meaning that unless you have a contract with your employer stating that you can only be terminated “for cause,” your employment is presumed to be “at will.” This means that you can leave your job for any reason at any time and, likewise, can be terminated by your employer for any reason and at any time. However, employers are restricted in that they cannot terminate you for an illegal reason. For example, your employer cannot fire you for:

  • Refusing to do something that is unlawful or that you reasonably believe to be unlawful
  • Reporting illegal business practices, such as insider trading or unsafe working conditions
  • Complaining about race, sex/gender, disability, or sexual orientation discrimination
  • Requesting a disability accommodation
  • Reporting sexual harassment in the work place
  • Requesting medical leave or pregnancy leave
  • Filing a workers’ compensation claim
  • Asserting your rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
  • Asserting your rights under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
  • Complaining about lack of meal breaks, rest breaks, or not receiving overtime pay
  • Requesting time off to attend court hearings in order to resolve a domestic violence issue

Employment contracts are not always clearly stated and may conflict with other documents provided to you by your employer, including an employee handbook or company policies and procedures. An experienced attorney can help you determine the terms of your employment and whether you are considered an “at will” employee.

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