Getting fired can be a devastating experience for anyone in California. Even if you didn’t love or even particularly like your job, you don’t necessarily want to lose it or the income that supports you and your family.
In most cases, there may be nothing you can do about getting fired besides move on and try to find new employment. However, in some cases, you may be able to take action against your former employer on the grounds that your firing was wrongful.
In order to determine if you were wrongfully fired, you must first understand that most employment relationships are at-will. This means that you can be fired for any or no reason, with some exceptions. These exceptions can be the basis for a wrongful termination claim.
An employer cannot fire you for illegal reasons. Employees are legally protected from acts of discrimination, retaliation and harassment in the workplace. This means that your rights may have been violated if you were fired for:
- Filing a claim for workers’ compensation
- Refusing to engage in sexual relationships with a supervisor
- Being a certain age, gender, religion or part of another protected class
- Reporting violations of public policy or laws in the workplace
However, believing you were fired for one of these reasons is very different than proving you were fired for one of these reasons. Wrongful termination claims typically benefit from extensive investigation, witness statements and documentation that supports your claim.
Gathering this evidence and building a wrongful termination claim can be very complicated and overwhelming, especially if you are already dealing with the anxiety of being unemployed and/or the stress of feeling like your rights have been violated.
This is why it can be crucial to work with an attorney during this process. A legal representative who is familiar with state and federal employment laws can determine whether you have a case and fight on your behalf to pursue a successful outcome.