If you’re like most people in Los Angeles, Glendale, and elsewhere in California, you’ve heard the term wrongful termination. But what is it—and has it happened to you?
A Word on Wrongful Termination
Under California and federal law, employers may not fire employees for certain reasons. Most notably, employers can’t fire an employee if the employee’s termination has to do with some type of discrimination. Other common reasons people contact a wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles and Glendale include being fired:
- Because of race, color, creed, nationality, religion, gender, or sexual orientation
- In an act of retaliation for whistleblowing, working with prosecutors, or as part of a sexual harassment case
- For refusal to commit an illegal act (like covering up theft, manipulating accounting numbers, or shredding documents that could implicate an employer in a crime)
- For taking time off to vote, serve on a jury, or under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or to participate in military service
Do I Have a Wrongful Termination Claim in L.A. or Glendale?
Although California is an “at-will” employment state, your employer can’t fire you for an unlawful reason. Your employer can’t fire you for a purpose that violates fundamental public policies, either.
What Are Fundamental Public Policies?
Public policy is a pretty general term, and it refers to a system of laws, regulatory measures, and courses of action. It’s what the laws rest on, and it particularly refers to policy that hasn’t been turned into specific rules yet.
How Do You Know if You Have a Wrongful Termination Claim?
Most people choose to work with a wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles or Glendale who understands the ins and outs of California employment law.
Your lawyer will ask you several questions, including whether you were an at-will or for-cause based employee. Your attorney will likely need to review your personnel records, your employment agreement, and your former employer’s company policies.
Before you can proceed with a wrongful termination suit in Los Angeles, Glendale, or anywhere else in the state, your lawyer will need to figure out whether your employer violated any law by firing you.
He’ll examine your case to determine whether you were fired in violation of anti-discrimination laws, whether you refused to commit a criminal act, or because you asserted your protected, statutory rights. He’ll also determine if your employer fired you because:
- You were performing a statutory obligation, like jury duty or service in the military (including National Guard drills and annual training exercises)
- You were a whistleblower or you reported violations of the law
The Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Termination
The state of California has a 2-year statute of limitations on filing a wrongful termination suit, so it’s important that you act quickly if you believe you were fired for an unlawful reason.
Damages Awarded in Wrongful Termination Lawsuits
You may be able to sue your former employer for damages if you were unlawfully fired. The amount and type of damages you’re able to recover will depend on whether you were an at-will or for-cause employee. (If you’re a for-cause employee with a contract, a different type of law applies to you; contract law limits the damages you can recover.)
Many people, regardless of employment status, are able to recover back pay, the value of benefits, relocation costs, and loss of security.
At-will employees may be able to recover damages for emotional distress or physical harm and the loss of future wages and interest. In some cases, at-will employees who were fired illegally are entitled to punitive damages (a judge imposes punitive on the employer with the intent to punish them), particularly when the termination was malicious, oppressive, or based on fraud.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Wrongful Termination in L.A. or Glendale?
If you believe your employer wrongfully terminated you, we may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Call us at 818-659-8324 or get in touch with us online for a free wrongful termination case review. We’ll evaluate your situation and begin developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome right away.