Can Wrongful Terminations Happen to At-Will Employees?

| Mar 24, 2020 | Wrongful Termination |

At-will employment is a common status for California residents who hold jobs outside of their homes. An at-will employee is someone who can be fired from their job without warning or without cause. Additionally, an at-will employee can choose to leave their job without giving their employer a reason for their chosen action.

Given the openness of the concept of at-will employment it may seem as though Los Angeles workers can be fired based on the whims and perhaps wrongful beliefs of their employers. Though at-will employment does subject workers to some chance of termination, it does not allow individuals to be fired on illegal grounds.

When faced with a potentially wrongful termination from one’s job, it can be useful for a person to speak with an employment law attorney about their rights and possible legal options. This post provides no advice to its readers but those who do review its contents may find it a good starting point for information.

Employment Contracts May Not Be Violated to Achieve Terminations 

Many workers have employment contracts that explain their relationships with their employers. Even if a person is an at-will employee, they may have a contract that explains their salary, their work expectations, and their benefits. Employment contracts often cover much more than these basic terms and may include provisions regarding how and when an employee may be let go.

If an employer attempts to terminate an employee in a manner that violates their employment agreement, that termination may be wrongful. When an employee has concerns about their employment status and their potential to be fired, they may wish to have their employment contract reviewed by a knowledgeable legal professional.

Discrimination May Not Serve as a Basis for an At-Will Termination

Discrimination in the workplace can come in many different forms. When it is based on a person’s religious preferences or race, age or gender, it cannot be used as a grounds for termination. Inclusion in other protected classifications, such as disability or national origin, may also be considered discriminatory when used to fire workers from their jobs.

Retaliation Is a Wrongful Form of Termination 

If a person is fired because they speak out against the wrongful, illegal, or bad actions of their employer, they may be considered a whistleblower. Whistleblowers are protected from certain employment actions such as termination because their firings would constitute retaliation. Retaliation occurs when an employer tries to penalize an employee for taking a stance that may be contrary to their employer’s interests. At-will employers are protected from retaliatory terminations under the law.

Wrongful terminations hurt workers and their families. Even when a person is subject to at-will employment they have certain protections from firing when violations of the law are present. Legal help can give workers the information they need to decide how best to approach their employment law questions and concerns.


Read Our White Paper:

FindLaw Network