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How can employees know if they were wrongfully terminated?

Many people lose their jobs at one point or another in their lives. According to Business Insider, some of the most common explanations for why employers fire workers include sleeping on the job, lying to a supervisor or constantly being late or absent entirely.

There are justifiable reasons for why people lose their jobs. However, there are other times when wrongful termination of employment takes place. An employee who lost his or her job for no real reason or for an illegal reason may file a wrongful termination claim. The following reasons are some of the most typical explanations for wrongful termination.

Taking maternity leave or other forms of protected time off

Under California law, mothers receive 12 weeks of maternity leave after giving birth. It is illegal for companies to fire mothers for taking this allotted time off. After the maternity leave is over, mothers have a right to return to their jobs with the same position they had when they left.


Whistleblowing is the act of reporting on an employer for committing an illegal activity. For example, an employee may report on a supervisor for overseeing the dumping of hazardous materials into a local stream. The employee can take action to stop the illegal practice, and according to California’s whistleblowing laws, the employee cannot lose his or her employment.

Experiencing discrimination

Employees cannot experience discrimination based on numerous characteristics. These include:

  •        Disability
  •        Age
  •        Religion
  •        National origin
  •        Gender
  •        Race
  •        Immigration status
  •        Gender identity
  •        Sexual orientation

If an employee believes he or she lost employment specifically for one of the above characteristics, then an employer may face legal action. In all the above instances, the strength of the case will come down to whether it is possible to show that the employee lost his or her job for an illegal reason. If a boss fired an employee for constantly sleeping on the job, then it is a lot more difficult to show the termination was wrongful.

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