When you are laid off or terminated, it never feels right. In general, in California, most employment relationship are “at will,” which means either an employee or employee can end the relationship for any reason or no reason at all. Therefore, termination is only wrongful when an employee has been fired or laid off for reasons that violate the employee’s legal rights. These unlawful reasons are generally divided in the following categories:
- Discrimination against a protected class (e.g. race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, pregnancy, criminal background, etc.);
- Retaliation for reporting a civil rights violation or employer’s unlawful activities;
- Termination to deprive employee of earned benefits;
- Breach of express or implied contract requiring “good cause;”
- Constructive discharge or creating a hostile work environment; and
- Violation of public policy expressed in California or U.S. statute.
Whether you are already terminated or expect to be fired, obtaining timely legal counseling is crucial in increasing your chances of prevailing in a wrongful termination case. An experienced employment attorney will help you to identify all possible causes of action against your former employer, negotiate a fair severance package, and, if necessary, take your case to court.
Because wrongful termination claims can be based on a variety of federal and California laws, they are often highly complex and have short deadlines for taking legal actions. Our employment attorneys have expertise and skills not only to make your termination experience less unpleasant but also to help you to recover damages, including back and front pay, compensation for emotional distress, and punitive damages.