Most employees are considered “at-will,” which means that they can be fired at any time by their employer. However, California law has carved out multiple exceptions to the at-will employment doctrine to protect employees from being wrongfully terminated. At the Dolan Law Firm, we understand how vital gainful employment is to our clients in Los Angeles and its surrounding areas. Our attorneys provide compassionate and zealous advocacy for all of our clients who have been wrongfully terminated, so if you believe that you lost your job due to being illegally fired by your employer, you have come to the right place to receive legal services.
Grounds for Wrongful Termination
At-will employment in California means that an employer can lawfully fire an employee for almost any reason, but they are prevented from firing an employee for specific reasons deemed unlawful. These include firing or using constructive termination against an employee as a result of discrimination based on a protected characteristic, in retaliation for whistleblowing or other protected activities, or in violation of the state WARN Act.
- Constructive Termination
Constructive termination occurs when an employer does not actually fire an employee but makes the workplace conditions so terrible or untenable based upon protected classifications, that a reasonable employee, genuinely wanting to remain employed, feels forced to quit. In order to prove constructive termination, the employee must show that the employer, based upon protected characteristics or protected activity, knowingly created working conditions that are so terrible that an employer in a similar situation would expect a reasonable employee to resign.
- Discrimination Against a Protected Class
An employer is not allowed to fire an employee due to discrimination against an employee’s protected class, whether actual or presumed. Protected classes include an employee’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, and more. In addition, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act makes it illegal to wrongfully terminate an employee because they opposed harassment or discrimination.
- Retaliation for Whistleblowing
An employer may not terminate an employee in retaliation for whistleblowing. This occurs when an employer fires an employee for reporting a potential or actual violation of the law by the employer to the authorities or other government agency. In California, whistleblower protection is codified in the state’s Labor Code and in the False Claims Act. These laws protect employees from wrongful termination for reporting embezzlement, unlawful activities or fraud involving state funds.
- Protected Political Activities or Affiliations
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects employees from being wrongfully terminated for protected political activities or speech. California law extends this to both public and private companies, stating that employers are prohibited from controlling their employees’ political activities. Employers cannot terminate employees for being part of a specific political party or attending political rallies. Employers cannot terminate employees for taking a particular political action, such as voting for a certain political candidate.
- Violations of the California WARN Act
Employees can seek compensation for wrongful termination if their employer did not comply with the California Worker Retraining and Notification Act (WARN). In larger companies, the WARN Act requires that employers give at least sixty days’ notice before a mass layoff, or closing or relocating a facility. Employees can seek compensation for the amount of days that the notice fell short. Experienced wrongful termination attorneys in Los Angeles are standing by to assist clients in making a compensation claim.
Additional Types of Discrimination
Other types of discrimination that an employee may face can include:
- Age discrimination;
- Pregnancy discrimination;
- National origin discrimination;
- Disability discrimination;
- Sex or gender discrimination.
It is crucial for employers to acknowledge and address reports of harassment or discrimination and not dismiss them or treat them “lightly.” When faced with discriminatory treatment or unjust termination, it is essential to take action and reach out to a wrongful termination attorney who will advocate on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation from a wrongful termination law firm in Los Angeles: (800)-339-0352.
Types of Wrongful Termination Claims
Wrongful termination is short for a cause of action called “Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy.” It is unlawful to terminate someone in violation of a stated public policy. Some of the most common claims are:
- Retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim;
- Retaliation for reporting sexual harassment;
- Age discrimination;
- Wage and hour dispute termination;
- Racial discrimination;
- Whistleblower retaliation, and;
- Violating the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
When to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
The statute of limitations for a wrongful termination case can be extremely short or quite long, depending on the grounds used in the lawsuit. Given the complexity and confusion surrounding wrongful termination laws, it is important to secure an experienced Los Angeles employment attorney as soon as possible following an illegal firing.
Compensation for Wrongful Termination
Once an employee has proven wrongful termination, they are entitled to compensation for a number of damages under California law. This includes lost wages and benefits, including all wages from the termination through the end of the lawsuit, plus the value of the benefits not received during the time. However, the employer is allowed to deduct any wages and benefits earned through another position the employee has taken during the course of the litigation. Sometimes even future wage loss is available as well.
Employees can also collect damages for emotional distress and related harms caused by the wrongful termination case. This includes compensation for any pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life, anxiety, or humiliation caused by the wrongful termination. In certain situations, attorneys’ fees may also be collected by the employee under specific laws.
Finally, in particularly grievous situations, where the termination was determined or ratified by someone high up in the company, a wrongfully terminated employee may be able to collect punitive damages in addition to their compensatory damages. Punitive damages are not related to any harm suffered by the employee. They are meant to punish the employer for their particularly wanton behavior and serve as a deterrent to other employers who might think to wrongfully terminate employees in a similar manner.
The employment attorneys at Dolan Law Firm will work hard to ensure that their clients who have been wrongfully terminated get fully compensated. Wrongful termination in Los Angeles, or California leave employees in a challenging situation. A wrongful termination law firm in Los Angeles is the right place to seek legal advice.
Contact the Dolan Law Firm Today
Being wrongfully terminated from your job is a jarring and upsetting experience. Most people do not know who to go to or what their options are. The attorneys at the Dolan Law Firm in Los Angeles are here to provide top-tier legal representation for their clients who have been wrongfully terminated from their jobs and can help you, too. If you have been wrongfully terminated, call the office or contact us online today to schedule a free case evaluation.
What does at-will employment mean in connection to wrongful termination and how can a wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles help?
At-will employment is defined as the ability for the employer to fire or terminate an employee at any time and for almost any reason. And for an at-will employee, the employer is not required to provide notice of termination. However, an employer cannot fire an employee based upon the employee’s protected classes, protected activity, or in violation of specific statutes or public policy. To learn more about your rights, let the Dolan Law Firm provide you with sound legal advice to build your case.
As a wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles, what is your advice for the best way to counter wrongful termination?
First, contact a wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles to review the laws and regulations regarding your employer’s actions to see if you indeed have a wrongful termination case on your hands. If you do, your lawyers will help you gather evidence for your case.
According to leading wrongful termination lawyers in Los Angeles, what is the highest verdict or settlement for a wrongful termination case?
Since all cases are unique due to numerous factors, it is difficult to determine what to expect. However, the Dolan Law Firm has settled wrongful termination cases for over a million dollars, and have obtained a verdict after trial for over $61,000,00. For more comprehensive information on your legal options, you should contact a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer to further discuss your case.