Articles Tagged with wrongful termination attorney

Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers know there are many reasons employers seek to shed workers they view as problematic. California is an at-will state when it comes to employment, meaning barring an employment contract stating otherwise, an employee can quite or be fired for almost any reason. However, when employers take adverse employment action against workers for prejudice despite protected status or for engaging in certain protected activity, this can be legally actionable in an employment lawsuit. Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer

One of those protected activities is filing a claim for workers’ compensation. If you are hurt or become sick because of an incident or some condition at work, you don’t have the option of suing your employer. Instead, the exclusive remedy to which you have access is workers’ compensation, which allows for no-fault benefits, such as coverage of medical expenses, lost wages and work training. If an employer retaliates against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim by firing you, this is a form of wrongful termination.

This is what allegedly happened to a worker in Fresno. The case, as reported by The Fresno Bee, is somewhat unique for the steps allegedly taken by the employer in order to justify the reportedly unlawful action of California wrongful termination. It is for this reason jurors justified an $8 million damage award after siding with plaintiff in this case.

Plaintiff Wrongly Accused, Wrongly Terminated in California, Fights Back Continue reading

The experience of being “fired,” “terminated” or “let go” from a job can be debasing, infuriating and depressing. Disagreement on the reasons for termination or fairness aren’t uncommon, and some may even justly feel a fair amount of resentment. But that alone isn’t enough to establish that such employment action amounted to “wrongful termination.” Los Angeles employment lawyers can explain that in fact, most employees in the state of California can be fired for any reason and it doesn’t have to be fair. However, workers should not be under the false impression that they have no legal protection from firing in all instances.Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer

Most employment arrangements in California fall into the “at-will” category. There is no labor contract, and usually, employers don’t need to have a good reason to fire someone. However, what employers cannot do is fire someone in violation of state and federal anti-discrimination laws, specifying protection based on:

  • Race
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Political Affiliation
  • Religion
  • Physical or mental disability
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy

If the decision to fire someone was based – even in part – on any of these factors, it may be considered wrongful termination, with the employee entitled to just compensation. So even if there were many other reasons for why a person was fired, if any one of these was more than a trivial factor, it could amount to wrongful termination.

A wrongful termination claim can also arise if an employee is targeted because he or she exercised rights granted by the law. For instance, the federal Family and Medical leave Act (FMLA) which guarantees three months’ job protection for employees who take a leave of absence for birth, adoption or serious illness. If a worker is fired because he or she availed themselves of this leave, that would be grounds to file a wrongful termination lawsuit. Continue reading

Partisan tensions across the U.S. have gone from a long-simmer to near-boiling in recent months. Although most Americans define their politics as somewhere in the middle, an increasing number feel compelled to draw hard lines in the sand and publicly denounce or support certain candidates, policies or ideals. However, doing so could put you at odds with your employer. California employment attorneys have been fielding an uptick in queries on wrongful termination and just how far First Amendment free speech protections shield workers and their right to independent political views and expression.San Bernardino wrongful termination attorney blog

In an out-of-state case making headlines, a former city government employee has filed a discrimination lawsuit alleging he was fired because of his vocal support of the Republican president, which he expressed by wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat to work and in discussions with co-workers. He is asserting violation of his First Amendment free speech and Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights, as well as discrimination based on age (59) and race (white).

The short of it is that while employment retaliation for a worker’s political activity is not covered under federal anti-discrimination laws, California statute is more stringent. The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from free speech infringement by the government. It does not extend this protection to the workforce. What’s more, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC means companies can freely endorse and campaign for political candidates and even try to influence a worker’s vote. They cannot, however, demand that you choose a certain candidate. Continue reading

Those who suffer from mental illness, especially a severe one, may be no stranger to difficulties with employment. You should know, however, there are certain legal protections that prevent your employer from taking adverse action against you solely because of your condition. bipolar worker termination lawyer

One bail bond services company in Southern California discovered this recently, having settled a disability discrimination lawsuit for $110,000. The settlement was reached more than a year after the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed its complaint, asserting the company discriminated against the worker when it fired her without attempting to provide reasonable accommodation – as required by the law – when she requested a leave of absence to obtain medical attention for her untreated bipolar disorder. This, the EEOC alleged, was a violation of federal law – specifically the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Continue reading

After injuring her wrist on the job, being accused of theft, and having her employment terminated after 14 years, one former Chipotle wrongful terminationemployee finally has been vindicated. A jury awarded her nearly $8 million in damages as the result of a wrongful termination lawsuit plaintiff filed in Fresno County Superior Court after she was fired in 2015. Managers accused her of stealing $626 from the chain restaurant, and went so far as to tell her they had surveillance footage of the incident. When plaintiff denied the theft and demanded managers produce the video, they claimed it was deleted, expecting her to be satisfied with eye witness testimony of other employees who claimed to have seen the video, according to a report from The Fresno Bee.

This was unacceptable to plaintiff, and jury members agreed. Not only did they not believe plaintiff to be a thief, but determined she was a victim in the whole ordeal. Plaintiff alleged she was framed for the theft as retaliation for filing a worker’s compensation claim. Ortiz was fired while she was out on medical leave, weeks after the theft allegedly took place. She had filed a worker’s compensation claim shortly before the alleged incident, and continued to work to the best of her abilities until she could start her leave. At the same time, plaintiff alleged that supervisors were instructing her to downplay her injury to her doctors so she would not have to take medical leave, but she refused. Plaintiff argues this set up motivation to try to defame her. Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits an employer from retaliating an employee from asserting their rights under the law, including for medical conditions.

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California, like most states, allows for at-will employment. That’s a term used in U.S. labor law that explains contractual relationships in which employees can be fired by an employer for any reason (i.e., without just cause) and without any warning. “Cause” is interpreted to mean a fair and honest cause or reason, regulated by good faith on the part of the employer. California’s Labor Code contains the presumption that employees are employed at-will.wrongful termination lawyer

There are several exceptions to employment at will. These include:

  • Public sector employees.
  • Employees represented by unions (covered by collective bargaining agreements);
  • Employees who have contracts (written or implied) that require good cause for termination;
  • Employees whose employers have said/ done something to overcome the presumption of at-will employment.

In a recent wrongful termination case weighed by California’s First Appellate District, Division Three, the question was whether employee had an implied employment contract that required good cause for termination, and if so, whether his employer, a gas company, did have good cause for his firing.  Continue reading

In the context of employment law, a pretext is basically a false reason given for an adverse employment action, such as a demotion, loss of benefits or wrongful termination. For example, perhaps your employer tells you that you are being fired due to budget cuts, but in reality, you’re being let go in retaliation because you recently filed a complaint of sexual harassment or asked for a disability accommodation. manager

So how do we prove the employer’s actions were discriminatory? The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in the 1973 case of McDonnell-Douglas Corp. v. Green in which the court held that after plaintiff establishes a prima facie case of discrimination, the burden of proof then shifts to the employer to show that there was a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the adverse employment action. It’s then up to the plaintiff to show reasons why the true reason for the action was pretextual. This kind of evidence is critical because in most cases, employers don’t explicitly state their discriminatory motivations.

Some of the ways we can prove pretext are:

  • False or implausible business justification. Essentially, if the reason given leaves you shaking your head and thinking, “That makes no sense,” it’s probably evidence of pretext.
  • Changing reasons. First, it was because you had too many absences. But then later, it was because you were allegedly caught stealing. These kinds of starkly different justifications may be evidence of pretext.
  • Comparative evidence. Other similarly situated employees who weren’t in your protected class were treated more favorably.
  • Questionable timing. If you file a complaint for sexual harassment and are fired in short order, that timing calls into question the action. Some courts have found that pretext on this basis may exist even after weeks have elapsed between the protected activity and adverse employment action.

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The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office has agreed to pay $150,000 to settle the wrongful termination claim from an ex-employee who claimed whistleblower status after he asserted he was improperly fired and then defamed for recommending a top lieutenant be fired for reported sexual harassment. sad

Instead, Attorney General Kathleen Kane promoted the alleged harasser and fired the person who recommended his termination.

Now, this settlement brings the total amount paid out by Kane’s office to current and former employees for employment lawsuits to more than $586,000. There are also numerous employment lawsuits still pending for claims like slander, retaliation and wrongful termination.  Continue reading