San Francisco Wrongful Termination Lawyers

The wrongful termination lawyers at Minnis & Smallets represent employees who have been terminated from their jobs for an unlawful reason.

Most employment relationships in California are considered to be “at-will,” meaning that an employer can discharge an employee at any time for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. However, employers cannot base a termination on a reason that is unlawful or that violates an important public policy.

A wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired for a reason that violates a law, regulation, or policy of the State of California or of the United States. Some terminations are prohibited by specific employment laws, but California courts also recognize unlawful terminations that are contrary to public policy. Public policy is something that involves a fundamental interest of the public at large, rather than simply the relationship between a single employer and its employee. Therefore, a public policy is grounded in state or federal law or regulation.

The wrongful termination lawyers at Minnis & Smallets represent employees in San Francisco and elsewhere in the Bay Area who have been fired for conduct that is protected by laws or public policies. Employees who were unlawfully terminated are often entitled to lost wages, emotional distress damages, and, in some cases, additional compensation.

What is wrongful termination in violation of public policy?

A number of California and federal laws make it unlawful to fire an employee for engaging in conduct that the law protects. Examples include:

  • Complaining about or reporting acts of discrimination or harassment if the employee reasonably believes those acts violate state or federal employment laws.
  • Assisting another employee in making a discrimination or harassment complaint, or participating in legal proceedings concerning another employee’s complaint.
  • Making a request for a reasonable accommodation of a disability or religious practice pursuant to state or federal employment laws.
  • Requesting or taking a medical or family leave that is authorized by state or federal law.
  • Asserting the right to be paid overtime or minimum wage, filing a wage claim, or exercising other rights protected by state or federal wage laws, including the California Labor Code.
  • Reporting health or safety violations to state or federal agencies that have authority to respond to employee complaints, including Cal/OSHA.
  • Refusing to work under conditions that violate an occupational health or safety law.
  • Reporting misconduct pursuant to a state or federal whistleblower
  • Participating in jury duty or obeying a subpoena.
  • Reporting an employer’s illegal or fraudulent activities involving clients or customers.
  • Discussing or complaining about wages and conditions of employment with other employees, discussing the need for a labor union, or engaging in other activities protected by the National Labor Relations Act.

Where can I get legal help?

If you were discharged from your employment and you believe the firing violated a state or federal law or public policy, you need legal advice from a wrongful termination attorney. The employment lawyers at Minnis & Smallets have successfully represented many executives, professionals, and other “at-will” employees who have been unlawfully terminated. To learn how Minnis & Smallets can help you, call us at 415-551-0885 or submit our online contact form.


If you are looking for advice or representation, please contact us today using the form below and we will promptly respond to your inquiry.

  • Please note that we are not able to schedule a consultation with an attorney for every matter. If we are able to schedule a consultation, then the initial consultation will be at no charge unless we specifically advise otherwise prior to the consultation.

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