you ever wondered what would happen if you lost your job because you
were in an accident and needed time off? What if a new manager was
hired at your office and you suspect that he does not like you because
of your ethnicity or skin color? Are you in a situation at work where
another employee won't stop asking you out on a date and insists on
making creepy comments about how attractive you are? Did you see
something illegal happen at work like patient abuse and reported it but
you were fired right after? Did you recently tell your boss that you are
pregnant and you were let go because of this? What if you have a disability
and you your boss denied your accommodation request? These are all
unfortunate situations but many employees within the workplace endure
such mistreatment. Where is the line drawn though and what rights do
employees have? What rights does the employer have and how do their
rights coexist with employee rights?
1. What is wrongful termination?
An Employment Attorney
would be the type of legal professional to bring all of your employment
related questions to, especially if you were fired. An Employment
Attorney specializes in what is called wrongful termination.
In California, an employee is considered as an at-will employee which
means that the employee can be fired for any reason or for no reason at
all. For example, your boss can fire you just because he or she does
not like you, because you were late to a shift, they don't like the way
you dress, they think you're annoying, or even they can even decide not
to tell you at all the reason you why you were fired. Employers
technically have the power to fire you without cause as long as they did
not make the decision based on an illegal reason. Being fired for an
illegal reason might be considered as wrongful termination.
Wrongful termination is basically where an employee is fired or let go from their job based on an illegal reason.
2. What is considered as an "illegal reason"?
have touched on what kind of an employee employees are considered as in
California and the "unless" of terminating an at-will employee. The
"unless" applies to an illegal reason, but what does that mean? What is
an illegal reason?
examples of an illegal reason would be if you were discriminated
against based on your age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation,
disability, or marital status. There are employment laws that recognize
certain characteristics and classes that are protected within the
workplace in a particular way. For example, an employee over the age of
40 may be terminated, but prior to his or her termination, this
particular employee may have experienced mistreatment at work such as
negative comments made in regards to his or her age such as "You are
getting too old for this job" or "Isn't it time for you to start
thinking about retiring?". These comments that were made prior to the
employee being let go or terminated may indicate that he or she was let
go specifically because of his or her age. This all may result in a
suit against the employer because employees over age 40 are considered a
protected class and it is illegal for that employee to be fired because
they are 40 or older.
Another example of discrimination
would be if an employee was fired for a bogus reason, however, he or
she felt as though it was because of their race. An employee may be
able to prove this by providing evidence that he or she was passed over
for employment opportunities that he or she was qualified for and this
also happened to other employees who were also of the same race as this
particular employee; this may establish a pattern of race discrimination
within the workplace. Again this scenario may give rise to a claim of
wrongful termination and discrimination if the employee was eventually
an employee may be fired for what is considered as an illegal reason if
they report sexual harassment and they are fired thereafter. Sexual
harassment within the workplace is prohibited by law and therefore an
employee is entitled to report any incidences of sexual harassment
without being fired. For example, a male employee may witness another
male manager sexually harassing other female employees and reports this
to the Human Resources Department. Soon after the sexual harassment was
reported to the Human Resources Department he was terminated without
reason. Here, although his employer is not required by law to give a
reason for terminating the employee, because it happened rights after
the employee made the complaint, it may be considered wrongful
another example of wrongful termination may arise if an employee with a
disability makes a request for accommodation and in response, the
employee is fired. A request for accommodation should be met by an
employer as long as it is reasonable.
are all just examples of wrongful termination. Every case is different
and requires a consultation with an Employment Attorney to discuss
whether or not you have a wrongful termination case.
3. How do you know if you have a case?
mentioned previously, every situation is different and the laws that
govern wrongful termination are complex. The most efficient way to find
out if you have a case is to contact an Employment Attorney. The
Employment Attorney in your area may ask you questions such as how long
you have been employed by your employer, were you fired, why you think
you were fired and may need further information regarding past
incidences that lead to your termination. By asking these questions the
attorney can gather all the information and may be able to draw a
conclusion as to whether you have a case and/or they may provide
guidance on what you need to do next, such as filing for the right to
addition, should you deiced to contact a lawyer to discuss your
potential case, you should reach out to an Employment Attorney who
offers free consultations.