Many employees do not realize that just because a termination is wrong, unfair, or unfounded does not mean it is illegal. Generally, California private sector employees are employed “at-will,” meaning they can be fired at any time for any reason, except for specific reasons established by law.
Some illegal termination reasons include those based on race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital status, gender, age, and sexual orientation, and in retaliation for complaining about harassment and discrimination. The law also prohibits employees from terminating employees based on their political affiliation, for filing a complaint with the Labor Commissioner, filing a workers' compensation claim, complaining about workplace safety, “whistleblowing,” complaining about Labor Code violations in the workplace, taking time-off after reasonable notice for jury service, to appear in court as a witness, or to seek relief from domestic violence or sexual assault, taking time-off to perform emergency duty as a volunteer firefighter or reserve police officer or emergency rescue personnel, based on military duty or training, union membership or activity, or to prevent an employee from attaining retirement benefits, to name just a few.
If you believe you may have been terminated based on one of the above-listed reasons, or, if you don’t see the reason you were terminated listed, but you’re wondering if your termination was unlawful, give us a call, at (213) 536-4236, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our case evaluation form. Sarnoff +Sarnoff is committed to advancing employee rights and bringing to justice any employer that engages in, encourages, or fails to prevent discrimination, harassment, or retaliation in the workplace. Based on our experience as employment litigators, we can advise you regarding whether your termination was unlawful and help you decide if you should bring a lawsuit against former employer. We hope we can help you, but even if we can’t, we may be able to direct you to someone who can.