Anticouni & Ricotta | Leaders In Employment Litigation Serving Clients Throughout California.

What does wrongful termination look like? 

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Wrongful Termination |

The state of California follows the legal principle of at-will employment. Essentially this means that either employer or employee can terminate the working relationship at any time without penalty. There is no legal requirement even to provide notice — unless the employment contract has specific terms that are valid and have been agreed to.  

Nonetheless, there are a few exceptions to the at-will employment rule. If an employee is dismissed for unlawful reasons, this is referred to as wrongful termination. Outlined below are some of the more common examples. 

Fired for discriminatory reasons 

In California, employees are protected from discrimination. Protected characteristics include race, gender, disability, age, gender, religion and creed. 

If an employee faces discrimination or harassment based on any of these characteristics, this is unlawful. If a worker is dismissed solely on the grounds of a protected characteristic, then this is a prime example of wrongful termination. 

Fired for reporting unlawful activity

Sometimes, an employee may face retaliation for protecting a coworker. For example, if an employee knows that harassment is going on in the workplace, they may choose to report this behavior.  

Occasionally, workers are penalized for being on the receiving end of harassment or reporting it. If you’ve been fired for reporting unlawful activity in the workplace of any kind, this is wrongful termination. All workers are protected at a state and federal level from workplace retaliation. 

The laws around wrongful termination can be nuanced. A termination may feel unjust, but this doesn’t necessarily make it a wrongful termination. To find out where you stand in terms of California labor laws, it will benefit you to seek legal guidance at the earliest opportunity. 

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