What to Do After Being Wrongfully Terminated

Man carrying out belonging in cardboard box while other man and woman watches him leave

The loss of employment can have enormous repercussions on your life, affecting your finances and the stability of your family. If you suspect you have been wrongfully terminated, laws are set in place to protect you. Our California employment teams outline the unlawful grounds for termination, what laws exist for your protection, and what you can do after being wrongfully terminated.

What Is Considered Wrongful Termination?

California is an “at-will” state, meaning both the employer and employee can end the working relationship at any time and without notice. However, when an employer fires you for the wrong reasons—illegal reasons—you have the right to file a wrongful termination claim. Let’s explore some specific grounds that would constitute wrongful termination.

Protected Classes

An employer cannot fire an employee for discriminatory reasons. This would be considered wrongful termination. California employees are protected from discrimination on a state level by California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and on a federal level by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These laws protect employees based on;

  • Age
  • Sex (including pregnancy)
  • Race
  • Sex
  • Physical or mental disability
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Political affiliation

The protections provided by Federal law are considered the minimum protections required of an employer.

Retaliation and Harassment

An employer may retaliate against an employee for whistleblowing or requisitioning worker’s compensation. These are illegal reasons for firing an individual and hold grounds for a lawsuit against the employer. FEHA also protects victims of sexual harassment in the workplace, making sexual harassment and firing an employee for refusing such advances illegal.

Medical Necessity

An employer cannot hold your job as leverage if you ask for time off to take care of a medical situation. Under federal and California state law, an employer cannot fire an employee while on legitimate medical leave. California employers are also required to provide sick days for their employees.

Next Steps

It is critical to seek the legal guidance of an employment lawyer. A lawyer will be able to assess the particulars of your case and provide you with the advice you need to get the compensation you deserve. If you believe your employer has wrongfully terminated you and you would like to file a case against them, contact us Gaines & Gaines, APLC at (866) 400-4450! With over five decades of experience, we are ready and equipped to fight for your rights.