California is known as an “at will” employment state, which means that an employer can terminate an employee with or without any reason at any time. However, the decision to terminate an employee from his or her employment must be based upon legal grounds. For instance, if an employee fails to meet the expectations of the employer in terms of work performance, then the employer may have legal reasons for the termination.
However, if an employee is terminated for an underlying reason that is prohibited under prevailing federal and state laws, then the employer is liable for wrongful termination. In fact, there are numerous ways an employer can be liable for wrongful termination. Below is a non-exhaustive list of illegal reasons for terminating an employee which constitute exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine in California:
- The decision to terminate an employee violates public policy. An employer commits wrongful termination in violation of public policy where it terminates an employee for the following reasons: because the employee takes time off to serve jury duty or cast a vote, because the employee serves in the military, in order to retaliate against an employee for filing a claim for workers’ compensation; and/or in order to retaliate against an employee for reporting an employer’s illegal activity.
- The decision to terminate an employee in furtherance of discrimination in the workplace. It is established under prevailing federal and California employment laws that subjecting an employee to discriminatory actions based upon race, national origin, religion, age, sex, color, disability and/or other protected characteristics are prohibited.
- An employee has no choice but to resign from the job because of an unbearable working environment. This type of termination is known as “constructive discharge,” which occurs where the employer “either intentionally created or knowingly permitted” intolerable working conditions that violate public policy (see examples above). These conditions are so intolerable that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would have had no reasonable alternative except to resign.
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated by your employer, it is important that you contact a wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles from the Law Offices of Jual F. Reyes. Our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys are highly-specialized in providing quality legal representation to victims of wrongful termination and you can expect the same in your case.
You may be entitled to damages to compensate you for lost wages and the emotional distress experienced as a result of your wrongful termination. Therefore contact our employment law lawyers today at (310) 854-5917 or toll free at (877) 242-4410 to discuss your claim. Your initial consultation is free of charge and confidential.