Employers can fire people for surprising reasons - or even no particular reason at all. However, federal and state laws and public policy prohibit specific reasons for termination, and when employers violate these laws, your firing is considered to be wrongful termination.
People who are wrongfully terminated have the right to take legal action to hold their employers accountable for the harm that resulted. This can include lost income and benefits, lost future employment opportunities, as well as emotional distress in some situations.
If you think your employer might have engaged in wrongful termination, discuss your legal options with an Orange County employment law attorney right away.
Pregnancy and Leave
One reason why you might be unlawfully fired is for reasons related to pregnancy, childbirth, and other pregnancy-related health issues. Decades ago, it was common for employers to fire women who became pregnant - or even refuse to hire women of child-bearing age since they might become pregnant. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) deemed pregnancy discrimination to be a form of unlawful sex discrimination, so employers may no longer discriminate or take adverse action against employees for this reason.
In addition, if you are pregnant, California law provides pregnancy disability leave, which is in addition to leave after you have a child under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). If you take leave as provided by law and your employer fires you for taking the time away from work, you have the right to bring a wrongful termination claim.
Some employers engage in unethical or illegal conduct, and employees might decide to bravely come forward and report the conduct to the proper channels. These might include the Human Resources department or another supervisor internally, as well as outside authorities or government agencies.
When you “blow the whistle” on your employer, you might expect your employer to be unhappy with you and you might fear termination. However, whistleblower laws provide strict protections for employees who are in this position, including protections against adverse employment action from the company involved.
If you are thinking about blowing the whistle on your employer or you already have and were fired as a result, you should not wait to discuss a potential wrongful termination claim with our law firm.
The law provides rights for employees, and it also protects employees from retaliation by employers for exercising their rights. If you engage in certain types of lawful conduct and your employer responds by firing you, it can constitute unlawful retaliation and, in turn, a form of wrongful termination.
There are many reasons why an employer cannot retaliate against you, including the following:
- Complaining of possible employment discrimination
- Complaining of unlawful harassment or a hostile work environment
- Filing a valid workers’ compensation claim
- Taking qualified leave
- Taking paid sick time
- Requesting a reasonable accommodation for a disability or religious beliefs
- Complaining of wage theft or other labor code violations
- Refusing to participate in unlawful activities as requested by an employer
All of these are things that California employees should be able to do without fearing for their jobs. However, employers regularly retaliate against employees when they should not, leading to legal cases.
Proving Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination cases can be more complicated than most people think. This is because employers will generally not admit to violating the law. Instead, they might pretend that they fired you for another reason that is lawful.
When you bring a claim, you cite the wrongful reason you believed your employer had for firing you. Then, your employer will likely respond by claiming there is a lawful reason for the termination. You then have the responsibility of proving that the reason provided by your employer was pretextual.
All of this can require complex evidence and legal arguments, so it is important to have the right attorney handling your claim. We can seek the legal relief you deserve for losing your job for an unlawful reason.
Let an Orange County Wrongful Termination Attorney Evaluate Your Rights
If you are an employee in California who believes you were wrongfully terminated, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your legal rights. This might include negotiating with your employer, filing a complaint with the state, or filing a lawsuit in civil court. We can determine the best course of action that will protect your rights as a California employee. If you are in or around Orange County, consult with our wrongful termination lawyers today.
Request A Free Consultation
Contacting us through this form or the internet does not create an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.