While employment contracts can be terminated for various reasons, some of the reasons can be illegal under federal employment laws. It is a common misconception among employees that they would not have legal protection if fired for any reason. If your employer terminates you illegally, it can become a wrongful termination. You can hire a wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles to help you recover your financial losses and additional damages. Continue reading to learn about wrongful termination cases and how a wrongful termination lawyer from the Rubin Law Corporation can assist you in getting justice.
What Is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination refers to an employer’s act of laying off or firing their employees on illegal grounds. For example, if the employer commits a breach of contract or if they fire the employee based on racial, religious, sexual orientation, or political affiliation discrimination, it is wrongful termination.
In most states across the U.S., employment is at-will, meaning the employer does not need a reason to give the “at-will” employee a notice of termination to fire them. However, there can still be a few exceptions. For instance, if there is a violation of the state or federal laws involved when the employer terminates an employee, it can be a wrongful termination.
If an employee believes their employment termination is a violation of their rights, they can start a wrongful termination claim against their employer to seek reimbursement for their losses. If the employee can prove that their employer wrongfully terminated their employment, they can get reinstated or offered a comparable job in the same organization.
Types of Wrongful Termination Lawsuits in Los Angeles
The most common reason for wrongful termination is unlawful discrimination. Discrimination under employment law is defined as harassment or targeted dismissal because of an employee’s age, gender, religion, political preferences, disability, race, or genetic information.
It can be either verbal or written discriminatory practice.
For example, if your employer treated you harshly because of your gender and then terminated your employment, it can be considered a violation of federal employment laws enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Discriminatory practices can be of various kinds, and if you suffered this during your employment, you can get help from wrongful termination lawyers and pursue discrimination claims against your employer.
Whistleblowing and Retaliation
Retaliation for whistleblowing in the context of employment law refers to an employee reporting their employer’s wrongful actions or any workplace issues, which lead to the employer firing said employee. For example, firing an employee for filing a worker’s compensation claim would be considered retaliation for whistleblowing, which is illegal under the laws of Los Angeles.
According to whistleblower protection, employers are prohibited from committing retaliatory acts against employees who exercise their legal right to speak out against certain issues and report wrongful acts committed in the workplace. For example, an employee cannot be fired for reporting wage and hour violations, risks to health or safety, or for filing a claim against workplace injuries.
Employer’s Breach of Contract
Another reason for a wrongful termination case can be a breach of the employment contract. For instance, employment contracts can contain a timeline limiting the employer’s right to fire their employee. If your employer fires you before the contract expires, it can become a wrongful termination case.
Employers also require a reason to fire employees that are hired through contracts. If an employee does not receive a reasonable cause for their contract termination, they can be eligible for a wrongful termination lawsuit. A lack of cause for firing an employee is considered a breach of contract in wrongful termination cases.
At-will employees are generally not hired on contracts, which is why most states recognize the implied contract. An implied contract can be a legal obligation derived from the actions and circumstances of both parties involved in the employment agreement. No verbal communications or written documents are necessary for an implied contract, but they have the same legal force as an oral or written employment contract.
However, an implied contract can be typically more challenging to reinforce than a standard employment contract. A wrongful termination attorney who is well-versed in employment laws can help you recover compensation for damages resulting from a breach of an implied or standard employment contract in a wrongful termination claim
Under employment law in Los Angeles, workers are allowed to engage in activities such as conducting a campaign or organizing a labor reunion to improve working or wage conditions in their workplaces. Employers do not have the right to fire them for these concerted activities outside the workplace. Getting fired for organizing or conducting any campaigns can be legal grounds for filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the employer.
Ignoring Protected Leave
Federal employment laws offer employees protection from being fired when they are on medical or family leaves through the Family Medical Leave Act. According to this act, employers with more than 50 employees can provide up to 12 weeks off annually for eligible employees.
For example, employees can take a leave to bond with their new child or care for a close family member who suffers from a severe health condition. Employees with a disability can also take disability leaves. If your employer ignored these protected leaves and fired you due to your absence, you can initiate a lawsuit against them.
Constructive discharge or dismissal is when an employer manipulates the environment of the workplace to get an employee to quit their job. For example, the employer can intentionally not provide reasonable workplace accommodations to an employee with a disability, indirectly forcing the employee to redesign. Constructive discharge can also include changing the terms of the employment, such as issuing a pay cut or demotion without any valid reason.
California Wrongful Termination Laws
Like many other states, California is an at-will state that allows employers to fire employees for lawful or no reason and permits employees to quit jobs for any reason or none. However, employers are prohibited from firing employees for unlawful reasons, such as discrimination, or for exercising their legal rights as employees.
However, the definition of an employee in Los Angeles, California, is unique. Typically, a worker is considered an employee if they work under an employer’s direct supervision or control. If the worker is an independent contractor and the employer has no control over how the worker gets the job done, they would not be considered an employee. According to California law, only an employee can file a wrongful termination lawsuit.
California wrongful termination laws prohibit employers from firing their employees based on unlawful reasons, including being an immigrant, discrimination, past criminal convictions, being a victim of a crime, discussing income or work conditions, requesting reasonable accommodations for their disability, taking maternity leave, or taking time off to vote or perform jury duty.
Steps To Take After A Wrongful Termination in Los Angeles
Do Not Retaliate
Being fired from a job can cause emotional distress and frustration, but the best thing to do in this situation is to refrain from expressing anger or rage toward your employer. Instead, you should be professional and stay calm.
If you engage in any negative reactions after you are unlawfully fired from the job, you can end up on the wrong side of the lawsuit. In addition, it can reduce your chances of filing a wrongful or illegal termination lawsuit against your employer to recover your damages.
Understand the Reason for Dismissal
Next, you should receive a formal letter from your employer stating the legal reason for your dismissal. Then, you can review the reasoning and determine whether you were wrongfully terminated.
In some cases, you might be aware of the circumstances that led to your dismissal. For instance, if you were facing any discrimination or harassment from your employer in the workplace before you were fired, it could be the reason behind your unlawful termination.
You should gather as much evidence as possible to strengthen your case. Evidence can include discriminatory or harassing emails, texts, voicemails, or anything relevant to your employment termination.
You can also make written notes of what you remember about the events that led to your dismissal, writing down the names, dates, and places of the events that took place.
If there are eyewitnesses, you can also write down their names and contact information and get their statements to support your claim.
Your employment contract can be another piece of evidence that proves you were wrongfully terminated. You can review the terms of your contract to determine if your employer violated the contract when they fired you.
Contact a Wrongful Termination Attorney in Los Angeles
Wrongful termination laws can be complex, and you could require professional help from wrongful termination attorneys to pursue litigation. For instance, you can be dealing with a mixed motive wrongful termination case in which the employer would seek to convince the judge or jury that you would be fired even if the unlawful factor is not considered. The employer can reduce liability by showing a legitimate reason for your dismissal in court, and your case could be dismissed. This is why it is important to consult with a wrongful termination lawyer to choose the right legal strategy to get justice. In addition, the attorney can prove the employer’s unlawful motive behind your termination and help you secure compensation for your suffering.
If you had to suffer a wrongful or illegal termination, you could have many legal options, such as a severance agreement, discrimination claims, and wrongful termination lawyers. Your wrongful termination lawyer can also help you negotiate a severance agreement with your employer if you do not wish to pursue a lawsuit. A severance agreement can include any insurance plans or severance pay the employee can be entitled to after being unlawfully terminated. A wrongful termination lawyer can also help you calculate damages and gather evidence to support your case.
How Much Compensation Can I Get For Wrongful Termination?
In some cases, an employee who faces wrongful termination can get reinstated on their job, or they could receive compensatory damages. Compensatory damages include any lost wages or pain and suffering the employee faced due to the wrongful termination.
The employees can also recover the legal costs of their wrongful termination lawsuit. In addition, the court can also award the employee punitive damages. Punitive damages can be additional damages to the compensatory damages the employer must pay if they intentionally committed offensive acts against the employee.
Can a Whistleblower Be Fired?
Whistleblowers speak against or report any wrongful or offensive acts committed by their employers, such as discrimination against an employee, safety or health concerns in the workplace, or any legal violations. The law prohibits any employer from retaliating against a whistleblowing employee. If a whistleblower faces wrongful termination, they can get in touch with employment lawyers in Los Angeles and file a lawsuit against their employer to recover attorney fees and compensatory damages.
What Does At-Will Employment Mean?
A workplace where employers can be free to fire employees without prior formal notice or any reason is known as at-will employment. At-will employment also allows employees to leave their jobs for no particular reason.
At-will employment is permitted in almost all states across the U.S. This arrangement allows employers to meet their business goals and market demands. Employees also have the opportunity to leave their current job for a better chance through the flexibility offered by at-will employment. However, at-will employment does not permit any violation of federal or state laws or any unlawful reasons to terminate employees.
If I Quit, Can I Still Sue My Employer for Wrongful Termination?
In California law, there is a doctrine called “Constructive Discharge.” According to this doctrine, when an employer’s conduct forces an employee to resign, it can still be treated as a firing and not a resignation in California courts.
Constructive discharge cases can be complex because it is on the employee to prove in court that the employer had created intolerable workplace conditions that forced them to resign. However, in such cases, the employee can still be eligible to sue the employer by filing a wrongful termination lawsuit in court.
We welcome you to contact us at the Rubin Law Corporation to help with wrongful termination claims in Los Angeles. We have experienced wrongful termination attorneys who can guide you on your legal rights and the best legal strategy to strengthen your case in court.