California has an extensive list of illegal reasons to fire employees. Most of it even covers at-will workers who bosses can fire at any time. If you are fired for unlawful reasons, you might be eligible to file a California wrongful termination claim and collect damages.

That said, what counts as wrongful termination in California? Who can sue? How much can you get from suing your employer?

Here's what our experienced Los Angeles wrongful termination law attorneys have to say about it:

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When Employers Illegally Fire Employees In Los Angeles

Wrongful termination essentially means firing an employee for illegal reasons under California employment law. If your case falls under these unlawful reasons, you can file claims with the help of a wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles.

What Are Illegal Reasons To Fire Employees In California?

For various reasons, employees are protected from wrongful termination under federal and California law. Although most employees in California are "at will," which gives employers a lot of flexibility in deciding when and whether to terminate them, some firing practices are illegal.

Employees who have been unlawfully terminated are entitled to reinstatement, back pay, and other types of compensation from their employers.

Here are the most common unlawful reasons that you should look out for:

1. Breach Of Contract

Employers typically have the right to fire an employee for almost any reason or no reason unless they are restricted by an employment contract. In addition, the employer can terminate the employee "at will" as long as the reason for the termination is not illegal, as will be covered below.

However, if the employee is covered by an employment contract, the contract's rules also apply to the employer. For example, in most employment contracts, the worker may only be let go for good reason or when a certain amount of time has passed (a two-year employment period, a four-month probationary period after hiring, etc.).

If an employee is fired in violation of the terms of their contract, the employer may be held liable in court for breach of contract. Therefore, you should contact a Los Angeles wrongful termination law attorney as soon as you've encountered a breach of contract.

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2. Discrimination

An employee's membership in a protected class cannot be used as grounds for dismissal by an employer. Employees cannot be fired based on the following:

3. Work Retaliation

Employees cannot be fired for reporting a legal transgression or other wrongdoing. An employee cannot be fired due to reporting the following:

  • Illegal activity (such as criminal conduct)
  • Harassment or discrimination
  • Wage and hour violations (unpaid wages, overtime violations, etc.)
  • Workplace safety violations

Workers must be free to speak openly about their pay and working conditions without fear of retaliation.

Additionally, employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against an employee who seeks or receives workers' compensation benefits.

4. Taking Protected Leave

Employees in California are entitled to paid time off for various reasons, such as family and medical leave, sick leave, time off for nursing mothers, maternity leave, and even time off to cast a ballot or do jury duty.

Additionally, California grants major company employees 40 hours of leave for specific child-related activities, such as involvement in school events. Employees cannot be fired for taking unpaid time off or requesting unpaid leave.

5. Other Public Policy Infractions

In rare instances, an employer may fire a worker for reasons that are not specifically against the law but go against public policy. The employee must demonstrate that the policy is:

  • Fundamental and substantial, that it benefits society as a whole
  • Well-established before the employee was fired
  • Supported by either constitutional or statutory law

Even while plaintiffs rarely succeed with these claims, it does happen. For instance, one of the more obvious "public policy" grounds for an unlawful termination would be if the worker was let go for refusing to commit a crime (such as committing perjury).

Why Do I Need A California Wrongful Termination Lawyer?

Of course, no employer will willingly admit that their reasons for firing you were illegal. Instead, they will try explaining that you've been fired for something else, like poor performance. You want a solid claim and a good amount of evidence to ensure success.

A prescreened Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer will be experienced in dealing with employment law claims. They can assess your case, look for evidence, negotiate with parties involved, and represent you in court when needed.

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Hire A Prescreened Wrongful Termination Lawyer In Los Angeles

1000Attorneys is a reputable lawyer referral service agency certified by the California state bar. We only give referrals to prescreened Los Angeles wrongful termination law attorneys, so you know you're linked with credible, experienced, and discipline-free lawyers. Click here for a FREE CASE REVIEW.