Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Lawyers
Representing the Rights of Workers in the Greater Los Angeles Area
What is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination is the involuntary termination of an employee in violation of the law or an employment contract.
Wrongful termination refers to an employee's claim that the firing violated their contract of employment or some other public law. It is possible for a terminated employee to sue for arbitrary discharge under an employment contract that only permits termination for cause. In most wrongful discharge cases, however, labor and management can terminate the relationship at any time under the default rule of at-will employment. When a terminated worker can demonstrate an implied contract for permanent employment and a termination without reasonable cause, he can sue under contract law for wrongful discharge.
Wrongful termination cases can be difficult to prove. California, like most states, is an “at will” employment state. “At will” means an employee can quit any time and an employer can fire an employee at any time for any reason (other than discrimination). Employers and employees are free to change the “at-will” presumption by means of an employment agreement. However, an agreement that does not address the “at-will” status, will not change this presumption. In such a case, the employee can be discharged without warning, without a hearing and without a reason.
Exceptions to the At-Will Employment Doctrine
However, there are important exceptions to the “at will” rule:
- An employee’s rights are protected under federal and state employment discrimination laws. Therefore, an employer cannot discriminate against an employee on the basis of race, national origin, gender, age, disability or perceived disability, pregnancy status, marital status or sexual orientation.
- An employer also cannot terminate an employee in retaliation for filing a complaint against the employer or for reporting the employer’s illegal conduct.
Hence, you may have a valid claim if you have been wrongfully terminated:
- In violation of federal or state anti-discrimination laws
- In violation of labor laws, including collective bargaining laws
- As a form of sexual harassment
- In violation of an employment agreement
- In retaliation for having filed a complaint or claim against your employer
- For reporting an illegal act committed by your employer
Our Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers take plaintiff’s employment law cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win.
What Exactly Are Grounds For Wrongful Termination Suits In California?
California is an at-will employment state, which means that an employee or employer can end the relationship at any time for any reason, as long as it is not an illegal reason. For example, a person cannot be terminated for reporting unpaid wages or for a discriminatory reason.
Can I Be Terminated If I Have A Contract With My Employer?
Whether an employee who has a contract with their employer can be terminated depends on the specific terms of that contract. Some contracts will describe the specific reasons for which an employee can be terminated. Others don’t contain those provisions.
I Was Just Fired. How Do I Know If It Was Wrongful Termination?
It can be hard to know if you were wrongfully terminated because most employers will come up with some reason they claim is legitimate for firing an employee. If you are fired after reporting an employment issues such as equal pay violations, unpaid wages or unpaid overtime, then it might be wrongful termination.
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