We Are Wrongful Termination Lawyers Serving California Employees
Los Angeles employment lawyers at the Genie Harrison Law Firm are here to protect individuals who have lost their job and feel that they have been fired unfairly. Because of the complexities that surround claims for wrongful termination, it is very important to consult with an experienced wrongful termination lawyer who can determine whether your termination from employment was conducted lawfully.
At the Genie Harrison Law Firm, we are passionate, relentless employment lawyers who have earned a solid reputation fighting for California employee rights. Through single-plaintiff, multi-plaintiff and class action cases, we have obtained in excess of $70 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients. But just as significantly, we have improved the working conditions for countless employees. We care about California employee rights, and we make a difference.
What constitutes a wrongful termination case?
In California, there are generally three different types of wrongful termination cases, also known as wrongful dismissal cases. Employees are wrongfully terminated when a public policy was violated, a statute was violated, or a contract was breached. Although the concept of wrongful termination is simple at first glance, it is complicated by the employment-at-will doctrine.
What is the employment-at-will doctrine?
The employment-at-will doctrine states that an employee can be terminated at any time, and for any reason, so long as that reason is not itself illegal. This refers to the presumption that employment is for an indefinite period of time and may be terminated either by the employer or employee. This is the historical approach that courts have taken in interpreting employment relationships.
California, like most other states, has adopted the “at-will” doctrine, and restricts employees’ ability to bring wrongful termination suits against their employers, even when an employment contract is involved. This means that employees can generally be let go for any reason or no reason at all. However, there are very specific exceptions to employment “at will” rules. For example, an employer is not able to fire an employee because of:
- Breach of contract
- Marital status
- Medical leave
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Or, because the employee engaged in whistleblowing by complaining about or opposing certain specified unlawful, fraudulent or unethical conduct by the employer
How do I know if a public policy was violated?
There are State and Federal laws in place that prohibit employers from terminating employees for reasons of discrimination, whistleblowing or making a discrimination or unlawful conduct complaint, or refusing to participate in illegal activities. The Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) are designed to protect the rights of individual employees, provide guidance for employers regarding employment issues and promote fairness in the workplace. (FEHA applies to employers who employ 5 or more employees, but it excludes employees who are employed by their parents, spouse, or child, or a religious association or corporation not organized for private profit.)
In California, an employee can file a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy after being fired for exercising a legal right, such as voting, or refusing to do something illegal, such as submitting false tax returns, or lying on reports the employer is required to submit to the government.
How do I know if I have a wrongful termination claim?
In California, in order to bring a wrongful termination to a civil suit, an employee must prove that a substantial motivating factor for their termination was unlawful or in violation of California public policy. A number of factors can influence how a wrongful termination claim is resolved. Documents that an employee may have signed, rights waived by either employee or employer, and the circumstances surrounding the dismissal — all of these can affect the outcome of a California wrongful termination lawsuit.
The employment lawyers at the Genie Harrison Law firm will first help you determine the nature of your employment based on the terms of your employment agreement. This may require a review of your personnel records, employment agreements and company policies. In California, a wrongful termination can also occur when there is a breach of contract. Additionally, there may be time limitations that affect your ability to bring a wrongful termination claim in California.
Next, our attorneys will help determine whether the nature of your termination was in violation of the law. For example, were you fired because:
- you filed a claim for the violation of anti-discrimination laws by your employer;
- you claim to have been sexually harassed at work;
- you are pregnant;
- you requested time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
- you refused to commit illegal activity;
- you acted as a whistleblower or reported that your employer violated the law;
- you exercised a protected statutory right (for example: for filing a worker’s compensation claim);
- you performed a statutory obligation (for example: for serving on a jury, for taking meal and rest breaks, or engaging in union activity)
If you suspect that your employer has terminated your employment illegally, you should consult with an experienced employment lawyer who can evaluate the circumstances and merits of your particular situation.
You are not powerless. You just need someone to help you. Put the legal experience of Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys at the Genie Harrison Law Firm to work for you.
Call (213) 805-5301 to schedule a consultation and FREE case evaluation.
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