Wrongful Termination

The wrongful termination lawyers at the Genie Harrison Law Firm are committed to protecting employee rights.

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(213) 805-5301

Wrongful termination lawyers

We Are Wrongful Termination Attorneys Serving California Employees

Wrongful termination attorneys at the Genie Harrison Law Firm are here to protect employees who have been fired in violation of the law. Because of the complexities that surround claims for wrongful termination, it is very important to consult with an experienced wrongful termination attorney who can determine whether your termination from employment was conducted lawfully.

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:

  1. a public policy was violated
  2. a statute was violated, or
  3. a contract was breached. 

Although the concept of wrongful termination is simple at first glance, it is complicated by the employment-at-will doctrine.

Can an employee be terminated at any time, and for any reason?

The employment-at-will doctrine states that an employee can be terminated at any time, and for any reason or for no stated reason, so long as that reason is not itself illegal.

California, like most other states, has adopted the “at-will” doctrine, and restricts employees’ ability to bring wrongful termination suits against their employers. However, there are very specific exceptions to employment “at will” rules. For example, an employer is not able to fire an employee for a reason that violates the law (statutes, the constitution, or public policy), including because of:

  • Age (over 40)
  • Disability or medical condition
  • Requests for disability leave
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Medical leave (FMLA, CFRA, disability leave)
  • Sick leave
  • National origin
  • Pregnancy or related condition
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Retaliation for reporting conduct reasonably believed to be illegal, including harassment or discrimination
  • Whistleblowing activity by the employee (complaining about or opposing conduct reasonably believed to be illegal)
  • Activity by the employee that is protected by the statute or constitution
  • Political activity
  • Exercising first amendment rights (by governmental employees)
  • Breach of a contract not to terminate except for good cause
  • Requests for equal pay information
  • Protesting wage and hour violations by the employer
  • Reporting violations of the law to outside agencies

How do I know if a public policy was violated?

State and federal laws prohibit employers from terminating employees because of discrimination, whistleblowing or reporting conduct reasonably believed to be illegal, or refusing to participate in illegal activities. Title VII and California’s 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.

The anti-discrimination provisions of the FEHA apply to employers with five or more employees. For sexual harassment claims, the FEHA applies to employers with one employee, but the FEHA 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, to win a wrongful termination to a civil suit, an employee must prove, among other things, 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 proven. Documents that an employee may have signed, communications to and from the employer, performance evaluations, notifications to human resources, and the circumstances surrounding the dismissal, all 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. Additionally, there are time limitations that affect your ability to bring a wrongful termination claim in California.

Our attorneys will determine, based on the facts and evidence that you provide, whether it appears that your termination was in violation of the law. For example, were you fired because:

  1. you filed a claim for the violation of anti-discrimination laws by your employer;
  2. you claim to have been sexually harassed at work;
  3. you are pregnant;
  4. you requested time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
  5. you refused to commit illegal activity;
  6. you acted as a whistleblower or reported that your employer violated the law;
  7. you exercised a protected statutory right (for example: for filing a worker’s compensation claim);
  8. you performed a statutory obligation (for example: for serving on a jury, for taking meal and rest breaks, or engaging in union activity).

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. Please contact our wrongful termination lawyers to learn whether you may have a wrongful termination claim.

What do I need to provide to the Genie Harrison Law Firm’s wrongful termination lawyers to have them review my claim?

As part of your confidential submission to the Genie Harrison Law Firm, you should provide:

  1. A date-based chronology of events — focusing on what you believe was the wrongful conduct by your employer; on your communications to your employer about the wrongful conduct; your employer’s response(s) or lack thereof; the stated reason(s) for the termination of your employment; why you believe the true reason for the termination was wrongful and how you think this can be proven; any different treatment of other similarly situated employees; and, your history of performance.
  2. Your performance evaluations;
  3. Your termination documents;
  4. Your communications to/from the employer about their unlawful conduct and their responses.

The Genie Harrison Law Firm will have you provide other information as well to assist us in reviewing your case.

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 $90 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.


In California, many claims require that you to file a complaint with the appropriate government agency prior to filing a lawsuit. For example, for claims related to age, disability or medical condition, requests for disability leave, gender, marital status, medical leave, national origin, pregnancy or related condition, race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, or retaliation for reporting conduct reasonably believed to be illegal, including harassment or discrimination, you may likely need to file an initial complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (dfeh.ca.gov).

Similarly, if you work for a public agency, you may need to first file a California Government Tort Claim prior to filing a lawsuit. CLICK HERE > for more information if you were employed by a California public agency.

Please contact one of our wrongful termination lawyers to determine if you have a viable claim and need to file a prerequisite complaint with a government agency.

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