California is an “at will” state for employment. This means that the employer and the employee can terminate the employment at any time and without notice.
If, however, an employer terminates or fires an employee for unlawful reasons, the employee would have the right to file a wrongful termination claim against the employer.
An employee that has been terminated for discriminatory reasons, for exercising their legal rights, or in violation of an employment contract may have a wrongful termination claim. In California, a wrongful termination claim arises when the state and/or federal law explicitly prohibits employers from terminating employees for unlawful reasons. The following are some examples of unlawful reasons:
- Discrimination based on a protected class (e.g. age discrimination, disability discrimination, gender/sex discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, racial discrimination, religious discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, etc.)
- Harassment (e.g. sexual harassment)
- Sick Leave
- Taking Protected Time Off
In order to have a viable wrongful termination case, an employee must have evidence to prove that they were wrongfully terminated from their position. To do so, it is important to obtain all documentation related to the employee's employment and termination, as well as any notes or details regarding the employment and the termination. Examples of documents that can be used to support a wrongful termination case include the employee's termination letter and copies of all past performance evaluations.
Verbal conversations may also be used as evidence in a wrongful termination case in California. Conversations with the employer about the termination, job performance, or any other verbal communication is admissible evidence. This is why it is important to make detailed notes of these conversations and maintain these notes in a safe and secure location. Be sure to include the date, time, location of the conversation, and all parties involved in the conversation.
Contact the Law Office of Catherine Chukwueke if you believe you were wrongfully terminated.