Because the majority of employees in California work on an “at will” basis, most do not have any legal recourse after being fired, even if the grounds do not seem fair. However, in some specific instances, you may be eligible to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit against your former employer, and hold them accountable for firing you illegally.
At Habbas & Associates, our experienced employment law team can help you recognize when your firing is actually a wrongful termination. With over 200 years of experience and a dedication to justice, we can help you pursue a claim against your former employer and recover the lost wages and other damages that you deserve. Whether you’ve suffered from retaliation, discrimination, or anything in between, we’re here to stand by your side throughout the legal process.
Understanding the Grounds for Wrongful Termination
According to experts at the ACLU, at least 150,000 people may be unjustly fired each year. Unfortunately, because of pervasive “right to work” laws that make most employment contracts entirely at-will, employers have broad power to fire and remove employees whenever they wish. Employees know this, and often do not believe that they have any recourse for legal action.
Although at-will employment contracts give employers a lot of leeway, however, there are plenty of state and federal statutes in place to protect workers. If your employer has broken one of these statutes to fire you, then you may have grounds to bring a lawsuit.
Here are a few of the most common grounds for wrongful termination lawsuits:
- Your employer retaliated against you. Any number of activities – such as taking time off to vote, discussing union activities with coworkers, or filing a whistleblower claim – are considered to be “protected” under the law. If your company fires you for participating in a protected activity, that may be considered retaliation, which is illegal.
- Your employer violated a contract agreement. If you have an employment contract or any kind of legally-binding offer agreement, make sure to read it thoroughly after you get fired. There could be a clause that allows you to take action when you’ve been fired. For example, if your employment documents say that the employer cannot fire you without cause, you can sue if they do not provide you with an accurate and adequate reason for that cause.
- Your employer committed fraud. Committing fraud is a crime, and if your employer tried to trick you with bad information, they can be held accountable for that fraudulence. Similarly, if you witnessed or participated in financial fraud during your time at the company, you cannot be fired for alerting the authorities about wrongdoing.
- Your employer ignored written or implied promises. Written contracts are not the only thing that the court will consider in your wrongful termination case. If there were consistent implied promises about promotions, contract length, or other factors for your employment, you may be able to show that you were wrongfully terminated.
- Your employer engaged in discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of race, sex, class, and a host of other categories is illegal, under both state and federal laws. If you believe that you were fired because you are a member of a protected class, that could be a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Do you need to speak with an attorney about your wrongful termination? Contact Habbas & Associates at (888) 387-4053 for a free consultation.