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I think I was wrongfully terminated, what can I do?

It was a regular day at work; nothing seemed unusual about it. Then, your boss called you into his office and fired you. This left you wondering what you did wrong and if your employer had any legal right to take such action. Sound familiar? This is a position that quite a few California residents have found themselves facing over the years.

If your boss fired you for reasons you believe violated your rights as an employee, you may have the right to take legal action against your employer. When can and when can't an employer fire you?

Can

There are many reasons that an employer can terminate a person's employment. California is what is none as an at-will employment state. By definition, this means that your employer can fire you without cause at any time. The only time an at-will employee may have legal recourse is if the firing was for reasons deemed illegal.

An employer can also fire an employee who is failing to perform the functions of his or her job. This is true even if an employee is under contract -- if the contract includes a clause regarding dischargeable reasons.

Cannot

It is illegal for your employer to fire you as a form of retaliation or discrimination. Numerous people are afraid to file complaints with employers, fearing retaliation of some sort. At the end of the day, state and federal laws protect people from firing based on:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion
  • National origin

State and federal laws also protect employees who take part in certain activities such as whistleblowing, taking family or medical leave, serving in the armed forces or taking part in jury duty, among others.

Not sure if you have a case?

If your employer terminated you, and you believe that they had no legal right to end your employment, it is okay to ask questions. It is okay to see if you are eligible to seek compensation for your losses. An experienced employment law attorney can review your case and help you pursue any legal actions, if deemed appropriate. In doing so, if successful, through litigation or out-of-court negotiations, you may achieve relief for any losses you've experienced as a result of your ordeal.

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