Unlawful termination, or wrongful termination, typically refers to a situation in which a person is fired from her job for a prohibited reason. It is important to recognize that, simply because an employee has been terminated for a reason that she does not think is fair, it does not necessarily mean that the employee may be able to file a wrongful termination claim. In specific situations, however, if the employee was wrongfully terminated, she may be able to file a claim under federal or California state law.
Employment law in California is extremely complex, and it is important to discuss your case with a Marin County unlawful termination lawyer.
When an employee is working under the terms of an employment contract, there are typically two ways in which termination can rise to the level of unlawful termination:
We will provide additional information about wrongful termination and discrimination below.
Unless an employee has an employment contract in Marin County, then the employee is most likely an “at will” employee. This means that the employer may terminate the employment relationship at any time for any reason, except for an unlawful reason. The employer can terminate the employment relationship at any point for most reasons, ranging from poor work performance to layoff. But just because an employee is “at will” does not mean that the employer can discriminate or treat the employee in an unlawful manner.
Thus, if an “at will” employee is terminated for discriminatory reasons, the employee may be able to file a claim.
When an employee is terminated for discriminatory reasons, what does this mean? Generally speaking, if an employee is a member of a protected class and is terminated because of her membership in that class, then she may be able to file a wrongful termination claim. Examples of unlawful reasons to terminate an employee under both federal law and state law include but are not limited to:
California law also specifically prohibits employers from terminating a worker on the basis of her gender identity or sexual orientation.
When an employee exercises her rights to be free from discrimination in the workplace and the employer terminates her for this reason, this is a form of retaliation. Retaliation is unlawful under both federal and state law, and retaliation can result in a wrongful termination claim.
If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, or if you need assistance handling a wrongful termination claim in your workplace, a Marin County unlawful termination lawyer can assist you. Contact Minnis & Smallets LLP to learn more about the services we provide to employees and employers in Marin County.