As Los Angeles employment lawyers, we’re aware of a number of significant misconceptions that people have regarding wrongful termination claims.
It is not simply enough that a firing be unfair or rooted in reasons that are unfounded. In order for California wrongful termination claims to prevail, the termination must have occurred in contrast to federal or state anti-discrimination laws, labor laws, whistleblower laws, or employment contracts. These are not as easy to prove as people think.
We recognize that many aspects of employment law are convoluted, which contributes to the confusion. Here, we want to break down some of the top California wrongful termination claim myths that are most pervasive.
Myth: Wrongful termination applies to any unfair firing.
California, like so many other states, allows for at-will employment. That means you can be fired at any time and for any reason – or none at all. It doesn’t have to be fair. The boss’s son might get away with talking on his cell phone during work hours – but you get fired for the same offense. That’s not necessarily illegal. Where it crosses the legal line (usually) is when it’s discriminatory – on the basis of one’s gender, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, disability, age, etc. It’s also illegal to fire workers for blowing the whistle on unsafe practices or in violation of the terms of one’s employment contract.
Myth: Only women and minorities can sue for wrongful termination.
Not so. Any person who belongs to a protected class can sue if they are being treated unfairly on the basis of there presence in that class or suspected presence or association with someone else in that class. For example, if a person is fired because they married someone who is Jewish, they may have a claim for employment discrimination and/or wrongful termination. Also, any worker whose employment contract was violated in the course of that firing may have a claim as well. If you cooperate with an OSHA investigation, you can’t be legally fired for that, as it would be considered retaliation. Continue Reading ›