In California, unless there is an employment agreement with a stated term, all employment is presumed to be at will. This means that either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship for any reason or no reason at all as long as the reason is not illegal. If the reason for the termination violates a fundamental policy of our state, the employee will have a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
The primary type of wrongful termination case is based on either a physical or mental disability. Generally, an employer may not terminate an employee because of a disability, although there are some exceptions.
A termination of employment is illegal when an employee is terminated for refusing to violate a statute or performing or exercising a statutory right. In addition, a termination may be wrongful if an employee is terminated because they chose to be a “whistleblower” and report the employer’s illegal activities. The report could be to a regulatory authority or even just to a superior. There are numerous different laws in California that protect whistleblower activities.
Prohibited Types of Termination
Although these claims are normally based on a termination by the employer, in certain circumstances, there may still be a claim if the employee is constructively discharged (i.e., forced to resign), or other adverse action is taken against the employee because of his or her legal conduct such as discipline.
In addition, there are numerous other laws in California that prohibit termination of employees in certain circumstances such as:
- Discharging the employee while on a protected leave of absence
- Discharging an employee while on a pregnancy-disability leave of absence
- Discharging an employee while attending to military duty
- Discharging an employee who is a victim of domestic violence attending court hearings
- Discharging an employee for making complaints about workers’ health and safety
Contact Us in San Diego, California, About Wrongful Termination Today
If you have been terminated after invoking a statutory right or refusing to violate the law, we are ready to help. Contact us online, or call 858.793.8090 today for a free initial phone conversation with one of our experienced lawyers to advise you of your rights and obligations regarding wrongful termination claims.