What is Wrongful Termination?
When might you need a wrongful termination attorney? California law states that unlawful termination occurs when an employer or business owner terminates an employee for an illegal reason in a manner against company regulations and policies or your employment contract.
There are key challenges you may face in trying to determine if your firing was an unfair dismissal. At Colby Law Office, our practice area is employment law and employee rights, covering wrongful termination law and unlawful retaliation. We can provide you with a Los Angeles employment attorney to provide you with legal advice and help you understand the context behind your job ending and whether it was done legally. If you have a wrongful termination claim, an employment law attorney can help you create a wrongful termination case. A lawyer can help you recover lost wages or other damages.
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Speak to an employment lawyer about your rights and options relating to your termination. Our staff is available today at 818.390.9786 in Los Angeles to screen your case and make an appointment with the appropriate attorney.
What Qualifies as Unlawful Termination
Wrongful discharge can take many forms. Unfair dismissal of an employee based on an employment law violation, such as sexual orientation or dismissal for reporting inappropriate behavior (as a form of workplace retaliation) are some examples of being wrongfully terminated.
If an employee loses their job due to their age, gender, race, or religion, that is a form of employment discrimination and goes against wrongful termination laws. If you experienced discrimination and were consequently fired, you may be the victim of unfair dismissal.
An employee who experienced physical harassment, emotional distress, or sexual harassment and was subsequently terminated or experienced workplace retaliation should take action by consulting a lawyer for unfair dismissal.
An employer violates labor law when they retaliate against an employee for exercising their rights. An employee who experienced retaliation from their employer may have a case for unfair dismissal.
CALIFORNIA WRONGFUL TERMINATION LAWS
How to Determine if you were Wrongfully Terminated
If you were fired from your job and believe the dismissal was unlawful, we strongly encourage you to contact a California employment attorney, as labor laws are complex and challenging to navigate.
In California, most employment is considered “at will,” meaning employees can be terminated at any time for any reason or even no reason, as long as the employer did not violate any laws. Note that if you were fired for an illegal reason – such as discrimination – that may be considered wrongful termination. If you believe your termination was not due to discrimination, retaliation, harassment, or another illegal reason but rather a breach of your employment contract, you may also have a case.
Employment Agreements that are not “at-will”
Employees with written employment agreements with a California employer specifying the terms of their employment and its duration are not considered at-will employees. For instance, you may have a contract outlining a specific employment period or an offer letter or other written documentation guaranteeing ongoing employment. If such agreements exist, you could potentially enforce them in court.
Another exception to the at-will rule is an implied contract, which is essentially an understanding based on your employer’s actions and statements. These contracts can be challenging to uphold, and proving wrongful termination in such cases can be difficult.
What Is Workplace Discrimination?
In California, it is unlawful for companies to terminate at-will employees on the grounds of discrimination. Your employer may have discriminated against you if your dismissal was due to protected attributes such as:
- skin color
- religious beliefs
- disability, or
It’s important to know that discrimination claims are subject to statutes of limitations or specific timeframes, so you should act quickly if you believe you have a case. Learn more about discrimination.
What Is Harrasment?
Harassment occurs when a work environment is made to be hostile, offensive, oppressive, or intimidating. To be illegal, harassment must be severe or pervasive (widespread). Unlawful harassment in the workplace can take many forms, including:
- Physical Harassment, like unwanted physical touching.
- Verbal harassment, like derogatory comments or innuendo and inappropriate jokes.
- Visual harassment, like posters or signs or emails.
- Aggressive or repeated requests for sexual favors or romantic relationships.
- Showing favoritism.
- Unequal treatment based on a protected characteristic (listed above).
- “Quid pro quo” harassment, which occurs when sexual favors are requested or demanded in exchange for a specific job benefit.
What Is Retaliation?
If you report an instance of discrimination at work, and your employer punishes you for that, it may be considered an act of retaliation. But you should know that it’s against the law for your employer to do anything bad to you because you spoke up against discrimination. This means you have the right to file a complaint, testify in court, and assist in any discrimination proceedings.
Why Choose Colby Law?
Our lawyers are dedicated to ensuring all employees have the knowledge and power to fight back against employers who have wrongfully terminated them or retaliated against them. We can provide a Los Angeles employment lawyer who understands the law and can represent you in a wrongful termination lawsuit against a California employer, ultimately helping you get proper recompense for unfair dismissal.
Our Los Angeles wrongful termination law firm is run by two graduates of Loyola Law School with over 30 years of combined experience to represent working individuals who have been mistreated at work and were victims of unfair dismissal.
What Sets Us Apart From Other Employment Lawyers in Los Angeles
Proving wrongful termination isn’t easy. Colby Law Practice was created by some of the most passionate employment lawyers in Los Angeles. We’re vigilant in ensuring that workers understand and exercise their rights to work in environments free of discrimination and hatred. A Los Angeles employment lawyer from our firm will fight your wrongful termination lawsuit and help you move forward in your life and in your career.
1. Honesty and Transparency
You can expect complete honesty and transparency from one of our licensed attornies. Los Angeles residents deserve to know everything about their working rights and what qualifies as unfair dismissal. We aim to provide that information and can help to explain every step along the way.
2. Direct Line of Communication
You won’t get left in the dark when working with us. Our lawyers for unlawful termination establish direct lines of communication so you always have somebody available to answer your questions.
3. (Proven) Extensive Track Record of Success
At Colby Law Firm, we don’t just talk the talk. Our attorneys have over 30 years of combined experience and a proven track record of success. Experience is key in a wrongful termination lawsuit, and Southern California residents have access to that experience within our firm.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Sue for Wrongful Firing?
If you are a California worker and believe you’ve been the victim of unfair dismissal or employer retaliation, you need a licensed attorney. Los Angeles workers face the burden of proof and must provide written evidence of their illegal firing or workplace retaliation.
With evidence gathered against your employer and an attorney retained, next is filing your claim. Your attorney will advise on where to file, and once the case is filed, attorneys on both sides enter a discovery period. During the trial, both parties present evidence to a judge and jury of their peers. The jury and judge decide on the trial’s outcome and any compensation due if you win your claim.
How Do You Prove Unlawful Firing?
To prove illegal dismissal, it must have occurred based on things such as race, gender, age discrimination, or employer retaliation after a report of sexual harassment. Proof is needed, such as an employee personnel file related to when you clocked in/out, performance reviews, emails, and statements from colleagues/supervisors which can help disprove an employer’s claim that you were fired for performance-related issues.
Your employer may say they fired you because of misconduct, poor performance, or consistent absences from the workplace. But if none of these reasons are true, you need to work with an employment lawyer to provide proof for your unfair dismissal or employer retaliation case and advise on the best type of proof to use in your case.
What Qualifies as Wrongful Termination?
Unlawful firing qualifies when an employer violates fair employment practices by firing an employee in any way that violates the company’s policies, without a legal cause, or without proper notice. You may also have an unlawful retaliation case if you experienced retaliation after exercising an employee right. Examples include whistleblowing, where an employee reports their employer for breaking the law; discrimination related to age, race, gender, national origin, or sexual preference; public policy violations, including any order from an employer to break the law; taking Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) for a medical emergency; or reporting sexual harassment. If your employer is not able to provide a substantial reason or a fair reason for firing you, you may have a case. If your employer retaliated against you for doing any of the above, you may have a retaliation claim.
These are not the only instances that qualify as illegal termination in Los Angeles. Employment lawyers from Colby Law Firm can help determine if your firing was illegal.
How Much Can You Sue for Wrongful Dismissal?
This depends on a large range of factors, including the nature of your dismissal and the role you served in. Compensation can range from several thousand dollars to several million.
According to NOLO, those who file claims without the help of lawyers have only a 30 percent chance of winning their cases. An employee who hires an appropriate legal professional sees this possibility rise to 64 percent. In all cases, having an experienced lawyer by your side at the cost of contingency fees, hourly pay, or combination structures increases the chances of winning your case and usually results in receiving more compensation.