Have you recently lost your job in San Diego, CA? Do you believe that you were fired unfairly? If so, you may have a San Diego wrongful termination case. Our law firm represents clients who have been wrongfully terminated in San Diego, CA, and the San Diego County area. Contact us to learn about your rights and discuss with our attorneys whether you might have a case for wrongful termination.
California and Federal Employment Laws Protect Your Job
If you are an employee in the state of California, you are entitled to certain rights and protections regarding your job. California employment law, in fact, guarantees employees’ rights above and beyond what federal employment law requires. Your employer is required to pay a minimum wage of $12 or $13 an hour, depending on how many employees your company has. An employer must also allow rest and meal breaks and overtime pay if you are a non-salaried employee. The employer also is required to comply with illness and family leave laws, ensure a safe work environment, and to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
It is against the law for an employer to punish or fire you in retaliation after you report an unsafe or unhealthy work condition. You are legally entitled to report your employer and file a claim with the state of California if your employer is violating your rights, and it is illegal for your employer to fire you or discriminate against you for doing so. Of course, simply being against the law does not guarantee that an employer will not attempt to retaliate against you for reporting, but if they do, you very likely have a wrongful termination case and should contact qualified San Diego wrongful termination attorneys as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that you are protected by these laws whether or not you are a legal citizen, and even if your employer classifies you as an independent contractor, you may be considered an employee under the law and be entitled to all the rights of an employee.
According to California law, there are rights reserved for an employee which protect you if you:
- File a complaint or claim with a state agency
- Report an injury or health and safety hazard
- Demand wages that are owed to you
- Join with other employees to request changes
Employers are not legally allowed to retaliate against you by firing you, giving you less desirable shifts or tasks, preventing you from getting another job, or threatening you with deportation.
Exceptions to the Employment at Will Doctrine in California
Like most states, in California employment is “at-will”, which means that your employer can fire you without cause, for any reason or no particular reason at all, except in such a way that it would qualify as a wrongful termination of your employment. There are three basic categories of exemption to employment at-will, and the state of California allows all three:
- Public Policy: This exception prohibits an employer from terminating an employee’s employment if it represents a substantial violation of public policy. This means that your employer is not allowed to fire you because you refused to break a law, performed a legal obligation, exercised a legal right, or reported a violation of the law to police, the government, or a supervisor.
Examples of wrongful termination cases would be if you were to be fired for reporting antitrust violations or bribery by your employers, or if your employer has violated laws against disability or sex discrimination, or you were fired for reporting sexual harassment. An employee also may have a wrongful termination claim for losing their employment after being a whistleblower, engaging in political activities, taking time off for jury duty, or filing for workers’ compensation benefits.
- Implied Contract: This exception typically applies when an employer’s personnel policies or employee handbook states that employees will not be fired except for good cause, or if there is a process described for terminating employment that was not followed by your employer.
- Covenant of Good Faith & Fair Dealing: This exception may support wrongful termination claims when an employee was fired in violation of the company’s own policies, was fired to keep the employee from receiving rightfully owed benefits such as a pension, or if the company lied about why the employee was fired.
Do You Have a Wrongful Termination Case?
If you have been the victim of a San Diego wrongful termination, you were probably given a legitimate-sounding reason to explain why you were fired. So how do you know if you have a valid wrongful termination claim in San Diego?
Discrimination: You may have been subject to wrongful termination of your employment if you have evidence that you were fired for discriminatory reasons — for example, if you were fired after a supervisor found out your age, religion, or ethnicity, or if all of the recently laid-off employees were women. Discrimination may also apply if employees of a certain characteristic are treated differently than others — if white employees are routinely permitted to be late, while black employees are punished for the same infraction, for example.
Harassment: Employment law prevents employees from being harassed on the basis of their gender, race, age, national origin, or similar characteristics. Harassment may apply if a superior has made offensive comments about a particular gender, sexuality, religion, race, or disability. Sexual harassment also falls under this provision.
Retaliation: If you were fired after reporting safety violations or cooperating with investigations into wrongdoing at your company, you may have been victim to wrongful termination.
Breach of Contract: If your company or supervisor made you promises of guaranteed employment, or if there was a written policy regarding how or why an employee may be terminated that was violated in your case, you may have been wrongfully terminated.
What to Do if You’ve Been the Victim of Wrongful Termination in San Diego
If you believe your employment may have been terminated for illegal reasons in San Diego or San Diego County, you should contact a San Diego wrongful termination attorney as soon as possible. It is important to take copious documentation of your experience and gather all the evidence you are able to before or while you are consulting with employment lawyers about your case. Wrongful termination lawyers are familiar with state and federal employment law, and will be able to advise you of your rights and whether any legal protections you should have been given were violated.
An employment lawyer can explain your legal situation and determine whether you have a legitimate and pursuable case against your former company. Our attorneys are well-versed in employment law and will pursue your case to the fullest extent of the law if we think you have been legally wronged.
The law firm of Steven Rubin fights for employees whose rights have been violated in the San Diego area. If you believe your employment has been unlawfully terminated, contact us at Rubin Law Corporation at 213-224-9672 to speak to a qualified and experienced wrongful termination attorney who can explain the rights reserved for you as an employee in California.