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Wrongful Termination: Know Your Rights

wrongful discharge

Being a Los Angeles employee can be tough. This is especially true in the aspect of termination, where most, if not all, California employees are considered “at-will.” In this employment doctrine, you can be fired at any time and for any reason. For example, you were marked late by your superior, but in reality, you were not. Your superior decided to fire you, and it still stands even though there was some mix-up. Indeed, regardless of the reason, whether there was confusion or not, being “let go” by your boss, manager, supervisor, or employer is definitely embarrassing and heartbreaking. You may feel all the more hurtful knowing that there was a mistake and that your termination was wrongful.

But what makes a termination wrongful? In the above example, you can be terminated for that reason alone, even though it is quite unfair thinking that there was some mistake. Under the “at-will” doctrine, that is perfectly fine. The only time it becomes wrongful is that there was an illegal reason behind you being let go from the company. In fact, there are numerous exemptions to the “at-will” rule that may help you assert your rights against your employer. Here are some of them:

  • Written contract. If both you and your employer had a written proof that states that you can only be fired with good cause or for reasons stipulated in the contract, then you may not be deemed an “at-will” employee.
  • Implied contract. If both you and your employer had an agreement based on things that the latter said to you upon your hiring, then you may not be considered an “at-will” employee. Indeed, implied contracts often involve employers making promises of continued employment and other job advancements.
  • Breach of good faith and fair dealing. If your employer acted unfairly when it took advantage of your “at-will” employee status, especially when it decided to wrongfully terminate you, then you have a reason to assert your rights by filing a wrongful termination charge.
  • Violation of public policy. Getting terminated just because you exercised a protected right that is allowed under a specific law—taking time off work to vote or serve on a jury, notifying authorities of your employer’s law violations, filing for workers’ compensation, etc.—could be grounds for you to file a claim against your employer.
  • Retaliation. Getting terminated by your employer just because you engaged in a legally protected activity, such as filing a complaint with an agency about harassment or discrimination, is illegal under prevailing federal and California laws.
  • Discrimination. Federal and California laws prohibit employers from terminating employees on the basis of their protected characteristics, such as race, gender, religion, age, national origin, disability, and the like.

As an “at-will” employee, it is important that you are aware of these exceptions. In the event you lost your job via termination, you can look at these exceptions to see if you are entitled to file a claim against your employer. But first, it is strongly advised that you retain the services of a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney who specializes in wrongful discharge law.

Why should I hire an attorney for wrongful termination of employment?

Not all wrongful termination cases, let alone employment cases, are the same. However, through your chosen lawyer, you can be able to assert your rights without the hassle of having to do it on your own. By hiring a wrongful termination case attorney in California, you can be able to recover any lost income, as well as compensation for your emotional distress and other legal costs and fees. It is also possible that your chosen legal counsel may be able to deliver punitive damages on your behalf, especially if it can be shown in your claim that your termination was preceded by you being discriminated or harassed in the workplace.

Indeed, it is imperative that you let your legal advocate do whatever is needed to be done in order for you to achieve the best results that you want, which is a favorable compensation from your employer. Whether it is through an out-of-court settlement negotiation or through a court trial, your illegal termination lawyer will guide you all throughout the legal process, representing you in all aspects of your case.

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