Your employer does not have complete freedom to fire you. You cannot be fired for an illegal reason, such as your sex, race, or health condition. You have rights even if your employment is at will. The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III, based in San Diego, has represented clients in wrongful termination cases since 1990 through the work of our San Diego wrongful termination lawyer. I understand that your employer must have broken the law in order for you to have a legally sound discrimination case.
It is illegal to fire an employee for reporting another employee’s or the employer’s illegal conduct. Reporting the illegal activity of a co-worker or employer is called whistleblowing. If you have been fired for talking with another employee about your salary, the California Labor Code says this is also wrongful termination. There are many other illegal grounds for termination.
Unlawful termination in California is when an employee is terminated in violation of either a contract or a federal or state law. If an employee has a written contract with their employer that outlines the terms of their employment and what can be causes for termination, wrongful termination is when the employer terminates the employee before the contract is up for some reason that’s not specified in the contract.
Most California employees are “at-will,” meaning their employer can terminate them at any time, as long as the termination is not based on discrimination or a violation of the employee’s rights. At-will employees have several protections, including:
For example, wrongful termination could involve an incident in which an employer terminates a worker in violation of paid family leave. Under state law, workers who need to take time off work to care for an ill family member are eligible to receive benefits for up to eight weeks. The payments are a set portion (usually 60 to 70 percent) of wages averaged from the previous five to 18 months.
Paid family leave also applies to parents taking time off work to bond with a new child or participating in an event because a family member’s military deployment requires the spouse or partner to fill in.
Age discrimination is also potential grounds for legal action following wrongful termination. If you believe you were fired or pushed out due to your age, there are laws in place that allow you to hire an attorney to take legal action. Employers must follow strict laws when terminating an employee, and those actions should be made without consideration of the employee’s race, pregnancy, or age, among other protected characteristics.
If you believe you were wrongfully fired from your place of employment in California, you may have a valid wrongful termination case against your former employer. It is advisable to speak with a skilled San Diego employment attorney to understand your options.
In California, several laws protect employees from wrongful termination. These laws are designed to ensure employees are not fired for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons and that they are not fired in violation of their legal rights. Some examples of wrongful termination legislation in California include:
If you think you have been wrongfully terminated in California without adequate severance, speak with an experienced San Diego wrongful termination attorney to help you understand your legal rights and options. An attorney will work with you to evaluate your situation, and if you have a valid wrongful termination claim, they’ll help you pursue compensation from your employer.
If you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job in California, you may be able to file a claim against your employer. In most cases, employees in California are “at-will,” so they can be terminated by their employer if the termination is not based on discrimination or a violation of the employee’s rights. However, if your employer terminated you in violation of a contract or a federal or state law, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination claim.
It is important to note that there are deadlines for filing a wrongful termination claim in California, so you must act promptly if you think you have a case. An experienced San Diego lawyer can assist you with navigating the legal process and ensuring your rights are protected.
The amount of damages you may be awarded in a wrongful termination claim in California is going to depend on the specific circumstances of your case. In general, damages in a wrongful termination claim may include:
In California, there are limits on the amount of damages you can recover in a wrongful termination case. For example, the maximum amount of damages you can recover for emotional distress may be limited to a certain total, and the maximum amount of punitive damages you can recover may also be capped. A San Diego wrongful termination lawyer can provide you with the specifics of your case.
In San Diego, independent contractors may not be able to file a wrongful termination claim in the same way that employees can. This is because independent contractors are not considered employees under the law and are, therefore, not protected by employment discrimination laws.
However, this does not mean independent contractors have no legal protections. The terms of their contract may include provisions that outline the conditions under which they can be terminated, such as requiring a certain amount of notice.
Additionally, California law includes a broad definition of “employee” to ensure employers do not try to classify workers as independent contractors to avoid legal liability. To determine whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, the following factors are considered:
If you are an independent contractor in San Diego and believe you have been wrongfully terminated, it is important to speak with an experienced employment attorney who can explain your legal rights and options to you.
To make a case for wrongful termination in San Diego, you must prove that your employer terminated you in violation of a contract or federal or state law. In general, there are several steps you can take to build a strong case for wrongful termination:
It is important to act promptly if you think you might have a case for wrongful termination, as there are deadlines for filing a claim. An experienced employment attorney can help navigate the legal process and ensure your rights are protected.
I work with clients who have been fired for an unknown or vague reason to find out whether they were wrongfully terminated or not. Sometimes, I pull out information from my clients that they might not think is relevant. In every case, facts are very important.
Wrongful termination cases are rarely proven through direct evidence, such as employers confessing that they have fired an employee because of race or religion. Instead, I will investigate your story to find out the underlying facts that show your employer’s motive.
I will present many facts that may seem indirect or circumstantial because when they are added together, they could point to something illegal. I am highly skilled at analyzing these facts and deciphering what they suggest about your employer’s reason for your termination.
If I uncover that your employer fired you because of your race, sex, disability, national origin, or religion, I will pursue a discrimination claim for you. I have more than three decades of experience in dealing with discrimination and harassment cases.
A: Settlement amounts vary widely. One factor will be the financial loss you incurred from the wrongful termination. This is calculated, in part, based on your income and the amount of time you would have reasonably remained at your job. Additional damages may be awarded if you experienced emotional harm from the termination or harassment during your time at work. If your employer retaliated against you for filing a complaint, that can lead to additional damages awarded in your favor.
A: The burden of proof typically lies with the former employee, but there are many ways that this burden can be met. Our law firm can investigate your case for evidence that you were terminated for an unlawful reason, such as political affiliation or race. Evidence can come in the form of emails or testimony, among other forms of evidence. If your termination violated a local, state, or federal law, you likely have good standing for a wrongful termination claim.
A: Any argument in a court of law must be based on existing laws. Your San Diego wrongful termination attorney understands state and federal laws pertaining to wrongful terminations, and any argument made on your behalf will cite relevant state or federal laws and violations of those laws based on the particulars of your case.
Your attorney will begin by gathering evidence, including documents and contracts, along with performance evaluations, as one of the first steps when building your case. This is why it is important that workers document their workplace experience leading up to the wrongful termination, if possible.
A: There are no guaranteed protections from poor or unlawful behavior from an employer or supervisor. If your former employer does retaliate against you by tarnishing your image or damaging your reputation, you may be entitled to additional damages because workplace retaliation is illegal.
At The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III in San Diego, we work to promote fairness and equality in the workplace. We are passionate about protecting the rights of California workers to work in a safe and non-hostile environment, free from the fear of being unfairly terminated. We believe employment is a fundamental human right, and we are committed to fighting for the rights of individuals who have had this right unjustly taken away.
Labor law is a primary practice area for our firm, and we are well-equipped to handle cases involving wrongful termination. We understand the importance of stable employment for both individuals and the economy, and we will work tirelessly to help our clients obtain the compensation they deserve if they have been wrongfully terminated.
If you have been fired for a questionable reason or think you were fired because of your race, sex, or religion, contact The Law Office of Frank S. Clowney III in San Diego. I can be reached at 619-557-0458.