Was I wrongfully terminated?
If you’re reading this, then it’s likely that you’ve just been terminated. I would also like to guess and say that you’re confused as to why you’ve been terminated. You go to work every day, you’re always on time, you adequately perform your duties, and you’ve probably haven’t been written up. Your termination feels wrong, and it most likely is wrong. Thankfully, California has been known to protect its employees from wrongful termination.
What is wrongful termination?
Wrongful termination is when your employer fires you illegally. This is often done maliciously.
If you are wrongfully terminated in California, then you have the right to sue for damages.
There are many reasons why your termination could be considered wrongful. Read along to learn more about why your termination may have been illegal.
Click the link to navigate to a specific wrongful termination reason
Retaliation for reporting Sexual Harassment
Being sexually harassed is wrong, and is considered a form of discrimination. Your employer has the duty to prevent sexual harassment.
If you’ve been sexually harassed and report it to your employers, then they must take steps in preventing any further sexual harassment. You can’t be fired for reporting this. Many times, the perpetrator of sexual harassment in the workplace is a supervisor or manager. Simply put, they want vengeance after being reported for sexual harassment.
If you’ve been suddenly fired after reporting sexual harassment, then you have the right to demand justice. (1)
Retaliation for taking Family Leave, Medical Leave, Pregnancy Leave, or Disability Leave
California law states that you can’t be fired for taking family leave, medical leave, pregnancy leave, or disability leave. California law also states that you can’t be fired for requesting leave.
Not only are you protected when you take or want to take CFRA or FMLA leave, but you are protected when you want to use your accrued Paid Sick Leave to seek a diagnosis for an illness, seeking care or treatment for an existing health condition, or seeking preventative care for yourself or for your family member.
If you are fired within 30 days of requesting leave, then the law actually presumes your employer guilty of unlawful retaliation. The burden of proof falls unto them to prove that your termination had nothing to do with this request. Labor Code section 246.5 (2)
Whistleblowing - retaliation for reporting your employer’s illegal activity
If you report your employer for breaking the law whether they’re in violation of federal or state laws, such as laws governed by OSHA, The California Board of Medicine, or The California Department of Real Estate, they can’t terminate your employment.
California Law protects you for reporting your employer for violating the law. Labor Code Section 1102.5 (3)
Retaliation for reporting violations of California wage and hour laws
Let’s face it, your employer sucks, they may be in violation of wage and hour laws due to unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, or unpaid meal breaks and rest breaks.
You can’t be terminated for complaining to your employer or reporting your employer for these violations. You can’t be terminated for exercising your entitlement to the rights given to you by the California Labor Code. Labor Code section 98.6 (4)
Under California law you are protected by FEHA (5) from discrimination based on:
Sex, gender - including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, or any other relation medical conditions.
Gender identity, gender expression
Age (40 and over)
Disability whether it be mental disability or physical disability
Military or Veteran Status
All of these are considered protected classes. If you are fired for reasons pertaining to your protected class, then that is considered wrongful termination.
Contact us if you’ve been wrongfully terminated in California
Our Orange County employment law attorneys are well versed in wrongful termination cases.
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Workplace Sexual Harassment https://oag.ca.gov/workplace-sexual-harassment
Labor Code Section 246.5 https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=246.5.&lawCode=LAB
Labor Code Section 1102.5 https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?sectionNum=1102.5&lawCode=LAB
Labor Code Section 98.6 https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes_displaySection.xhtml?lawCode=LAB§ionNum=98.6