California is considered an at-will state. This means that an employee can quit his or her job for any reason or no reason, and can be fired for any reason or no reason, even if the reason offered is dubious. But there are exceptions to this general rule. A host of federal and state law prohibits employers from discrimination against employees on the basis of several protected designations, including race, age, gender, disability, religion and national origin. This means that employees may not be terminated because of their race, age, or any of the other protected classifications. Doing so is illegal, and may constitute wrongful termination entitling the employee to damages. Other illegal reasons for termination include, but are not limited to, the following:
- termination in violation of federal or state statutes
- termination as a form of sexual harassment
- termination in violation of oral or written employment contracts
- termination in violation of labor codes
- termination in violation of a collective bargaining agreement
- termination in response to an employee’s filing of a complaint against the employer, or for reporting any illegal activity
If you have been recently laid off or fired, and you believe that you lost your job for unlawful or pretextual reasons, contact our office to discover your legal recourse. One of our knowledgeable attorneys will assist you in determining if you have a viable claim for wrongful termination against your former employer. Depending on the nature of your case, you may be entitled to money damages. If you have not been officially released, our attorneys can negotiate an appropriate severance package on your behalf and work to ensure that you receive adequate compensation. To learn more about your rights after losing your job, and to ensure the preservation of those rights, contact a skilled and dedicated attorney today at The Gillam Law Firm.