Wrongful Termination California

Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires or terminates an employee for illegal reasons or in violation of public policy. In California, regarded as an at-will state, an employer can lawfully terminate an employee’s contract, provided the cause of termination is not illegal.

If an employer terminates an employee for an illegal reason, the employee may be able to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination. A successful wrongful termination claim may result in damages such as back pay, front pay, reinstatement, and compensation for emotional distress.

If you suspect your employer terminated your contract for an illegal reason, don’t hesitate to get in contact with the Labor Law Advocates. We are an employment law firm ready to fight for your legal rights.

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Why Would Employees Be Wrongfully Fired?

Employment termination is a common practice, most of the those who join a company can be facing the termination of their contracts or quitting their jobs with time. The circle of employment keeps moving. However, when an employment termination includes an illegal reason, the situation can be stressful and harmful.

The common situations in which an employee can face unlawful termination include:


Discrimination is one of the most common unlawful reasons for wrongful termination in California. State and federal laws prohibit employers from terminating employees based on their protected characteristics, including race, skin color, national origin, gender, religion, medical condition, and disability. Employers may also not discriminate against employees based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy status.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination that occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that create a hostile or abusive work environment. Employers have a legal obligation to prevent and address sexual harassment in the workplace.

Whistleblower Situation

Whistleblowing can be a common reason for wrongful termination in many cases. Whistleblowers are individuals who report illegal or unethical activities within their organization to the authorities or the public. While whistleblowers play a crucial role in exposing wrongdoing and promoting accountability, they can also face retaliation from their employers.

Employers may retaliate against whistleblowers by firing them, demoting them, or subjecting them to harassment or other forms of discrimination. These actions are illegal and violate the whistleblower protection laws.

Implied Contract

An implied contract is a legally binding agreement between an employer and an employee that is not explicitly stated in writing, but is based on the actions and communications between the two parties. For example, an implied contract may exist when an employer consistently makes verbal promises to an employee about job security or a guaranteed term of employment, or when an employer has a longstanding practice of only terminating employees for cause.

If an employer terminates an employee in violation of an implied contract, it can be considered wrongful termination. Employees who believe they have been wrongfully terminated due to an implied contract can seek legal remedies, including compensation for damages and reinstatement.

Asserted a Right

When an employee asserts a right, they are exercising their legal entitlements or protections under the law, such as the right to a safe work environment, the right to overtime pay, unpaid wages, or the right to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

If an employer terminates an employee for asserting their legal rights, it can be considered wrongful termination. Employees who believe they have been wrongfully terminated for asserting their legal rights can seek legal remedies, including compensation benefits for damages and reinstatement.

You deserve respect and to be appreciated as the good worker you are.

If your employer wrongfully terminates your contract, you may be able to file a claim.

What Laws Protect Employees From Wrongful Termination?

In California, employees are protected by several state and federal laws that prohibit employers from wrongfully terminating employees. Some of the most common laws that protect employees from wrongful termination in California include:

  1. California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA): This anti-discrimination law prohibits employers from terminating employees based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other protected characteristics.
  2. California Labor Code section 1102.5: Protects employees who report violations of the law or refuse to participate in illegal activities from retaliation or termination.
  3. California Whistleblower Protection Act: This law provides additional protections to employees who report violations of the law or refuse to participate in illegal activities.
  4. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): This law provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons and prohibits employers from terminating employees for taking FMLA to leave.
  5. California Pregnancy Disability Leave Law: This law requires employers to provide employees with up to four months of unpaid leave for pregnancy-related disabilities and prohibits employers from terminating employees for taking pregnancy disability leave.
  6. California Occupational Safety and Health Act (Cal/OSHA): This law requires employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment and prohibits employers from terminating employees for raising safety concerns or refusing to work in unsafe conditions.

Employees who believe they have been wrongfully terminated in California may file a complaint with the California Labor Commissioner or file a lawsuit in court to seek compensation for damages and reinstatement. With the help of an experienced employment lawyer, you can ensure fair compensation for your wrongful termination.

Wrongful Termination California: FAQs

I was wrongfully fired, can I sue?

Yes. Keep in mind that, depending on the circumstances of your wrongful termination, you may be able to sue for wrongful discharge. You need to determine if this is a federal or state situation, as there are laws governing each that control how much compensation you can receive if you were wrongfully terminated. 

Additionally, it’s important to take into account statutes of limitations related to employment law cases and any contractual terms that might apply. Consulting with an experienced attorney can provide you with advice and guidance about whether suing is the right course of action for your particular situation.

What damages can an employee seek if they are wrongfully terminated?

If an employee is wrongfully terminated, they may be entitled to seek various types of damages, including:

  1. Lost wages: Employees may seek compensation for any wages they lost as a result of the termination, including lost salary, commissions, bonuses, and benefits.
  2. Future earnings: Employees may also seek compensation for any future earnings they are likely to lose as a result of the termination, such as lost opportunities for promotions or career advancement.
  3. Emotional distress: Employees may seek compensation for the emotional distress they suffered as a result of the termination, including anxiety, depression, or other psychological harm.
  4. Punitive damages: In some cases, employees may be entitled to seek punitive damages, which are intended to punish the employer for their wrongful conduct and deter similar behavior in the future.
  5. Reinstatement: In some cases, employees may be entitled to be reinstated to their former position or a comparable position with the employer.

How do you file a wrongful termination lawsuit in California?

The first step in this process is to contact an experienced employment attorney who can review the facts of your case. Once they determine that you have a potential wrongful termination claim, they will help you file the necessary paperwork with the state labor board or human rights commission and will assist throughout the hearing claim process. Additionally, your employment lawyers may be able to negotiate a fair settlement or go through litigation as needed.

How long does it take to resolve my case if I have been wrongfully terminated?

The length of time to resolve a wrongful termination case can vary significantly depending on the complexity of the situation and other factors involved. In general, cases can last several months or even years as evidence is gathered, negotiations between parties occur, and, ultimately, a decision is made by a court of law. 

Wrongful termination California – Consult with experienced legal counsel who can advise you throughout the process and provide guidance through any potential challenges that might arise.

How can Labor Law Advocates help me?

We can be extremely helpful if you believe you have been wrongfully terminated from your job. We can assist you by:

  • Evaluating the merits of your case: We can review the details of your termination and assess whether you have a valid claim. We can identify factors such as whether you were terminated for an unlawful reason, if there was a breach of contract, or if you were discriminated against.
  • Gathering evidence: We can help you collect evidence to support your claim. This may include documents, witness statements, and other types of proof.
  • Negotiating with the employer: We can negotiate on your behalf to try to reach a settlement or the best solution toward your favor.
  • Representing you in court: If negotiations are not successful, we can provide qualified legal representation in court and present your case to a judge or jury.
  • Protecting your rights: Our main principle is taking care of you and ensuring your employment rights. We will always protect your rights throughout the legal process to ensure you are not subject to any further retaliation or discrimination.

You deserve a fair deal and an honest resolution

Together we can achieve justice. 100% free, confidential consultation.


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