California is an at-will employment state. This means that employers don’t need a reason to fire you. They don’t have free reign over terminations. There are some limits to what they can terminate an employee for.
Wrongful termination has to do with employers who fire employees based on protected reasons. In the simplest of terms, an employer can’t fire you for something that is considered discriminatory.
Statuses that are protected by law are the ones that an employer can’t fire you over. For example, you can’t be fired because of your race or ethnicity. An employer can’t terminate your employment because of your gender, sex or sexual orientation. Religion and disability are also protected statues.
Another reason why your employer wouldn’t be able to legally fire you is if the termination goes against your employment contract. You should review the terms of your contract to determine if a termination violates those.
Retaliatory firings are also forbidden. This means that you can’t be let go because you made a formal complaint about sexual harassment or an employer not following the law.
Wrongful terminations can be difficult to prove. In many cases, you would need to show that you were meeting or exceeding the duties of your job. Performance evaluations and your employment record might help here.
The conditions of a termination can all impact your possible courses of action. You should think carefully about this and decide what you want to do about the matter. If the termination wasn’t legal, you might be able to take legal action against the employer.
Source: FindLaw, “What Is Wrongful Termination?,” accessed Oct. 05, 2017