What You Should Know About California Wrongful Termination Law
On top of federal laws pertaining to wrongful termination, the state of California has its own statutes regarding when an employer can and cannot fire an employee. Understanding the law can help you learn whether you’re the victim of wrongful termination after losing your job. Talking to a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer at The Law Office of Omid Nosrati can help get you the answers you need and to fight for your rights against a negligent or unlawful employer in Los Angeles. Review the most important things to know about the law before taking your claim to an attorney.
California Is an “At-Will” State
- California obeys “at-will” employment laws. This means that all employers have the right to terminate employees at will, for almost any reason or for no reason at all. This does not, however, mean that an employer can fire someone out of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. If the job termination infringes upon the employee’s civil or employment rights, it is likely wrongful termination.
You Must Be an Employee
- To have a wrongful termination claim in California, your status at your workplace must be that of an employee, not an independent contractor. As an independent contractor, you technically work for yourself, not the employer or client. For the most part, the law will consider someone an employee if he or she operates under the supervision and control of an employer. In some cases, an employer misclassifies workers as independent contractors to evade responsibilities. If you suspect this is the case, you could still have a claim against your employer.
Employers Cannot Fire You for Unlawful Reasons
- Despite the flexibility of California’s at-will employment laws, there are scenarios in which it is unlawful to terminate an employee. This includes firing someone in a protected class such as race, gender, sex, disability, religion, or political affiliation. Firing a worker for requesting time off, taking medical leave, or taking leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act is also an example of unlawful termination. Firing someone because he or she reported a violation of the law, or for reasons that go against public policy, also qualify as wrongful termination in California.
Breach of Contract Could Be Wrongful Termination
- In some cases, California’s at-will laws don’t apply to employees. There are contracts between employers and workers that could limit the employer’s ability to fire a worker at will. In these cases, employees might be able to argue wrongful termination if the employer had no reason to fire them. Legal reasons to terminate contracted employees include the employee willfully breaching a contract, habitually neglecting his/her employment duties, or being unable to perform duties. Verbal and written contracts qualify under state laws.
- The best way to protect your rights is to talk to a lawyer as soon as your employer terminates you . Losing your job can have far-reaching consequences for your personal and professional lives.
Talking to an attorney can give you the most important information about your situation, as well as help you learn what to do. If you have enough evidence, you could be eligible to recover damages against your employer and even get your job back. Call (310) 553-5630 or visit our website to get in touch with The Law Office of Omid Nosrati today.