If you are wrongfully fired or fired under illegal circumstances, you have rights that may allow you to collect compensation for your losses.
Working with an experienced Los Angeles, wrongful termination attorney will help assure that those rights are protected.
Ottinger Employment Lawyers know that one of the most challenging first steps is reaching out.
Contact us now, and a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer can assist you in determining if your termination was lawful.
We can match you with a knowledgeable wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles that’s right for you.
Recognizing Wrongful Termination in the Workplace
Under California law, “wrongful termination” is employment termination that violates a law or contract.
Wrongful terminations include those based on:
- Breach of an employment contract—when an employer fires an employee in violation of an express or implied contract;
- Discrimination—when an employer fires an employee because that employee belongs to a protected class such as race or color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, and sexual orientation;
- Retaliation for whistleblowing or filing a claim—when an employer responds to an employee who reported workplace violations, discrimination, or harassment by firing them;
- Violation of public policy—when an employer fires an employee for exercising a legal right or performing a legal obligation, such as being a member of a political party or refusing to do something illegal;
- Retaliation for exercising rights to time off or benefits—when an employer terminates an employee because they take benefits or time off that they are entitled to, such as taking time off for medical reasons under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), filing a workers’ compensation claim, or using employer-sponsored health benefits.
Even if your employer did not fire you, you could have a cause of action for wrongful termination if you were constructively dismissed.
Constructive dismissal occurs when an employer intentionally makes the terms of employment or a work environment so unbearable that an employee feels they have no choice but to resign.
If the reason for the employer’s actions is illegal—i.e., discrimination, retaliation, or depriving you of your rights under an employment contract—you may have a wrongful termination claim even if you quit.
Some wrongful termination cases are straightforward. However, there are situations where wrongful termination is less clear.
In many cases, California’s far-reaching protections offer laws and regulations that will protect you.
A wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles can walk you through your rights and help you determine the best recourse.
At-Will Employees and Wrongful Termination
In California, most employment is “at will.” An at-will employee may be fired at any time for any legal reason or no reason at all. However, termination is wrongful if it is for an illegal reason or violates an employment contract.
An employee and employer may agree to specific conditions of employment and sign a contract including them.
For example, a job contract might include a provision assuring that an employer will retain an employee for a specific amount of time or conditions that promise continued employment.
An employment contract may guarantee that an employee will not be fired except for specific reasons.
Such contracts are enforceable in court, and employees that sign contracts containing specific employment conditions are not at-will employees.
An employee may also agree to an “implied contract.” An implied contract is when the employer, through words or actions, promises continued employment to an employee who relies on this promise.
An implied contract is another exception to the “at-will” rule.
We Can Help You Fight an Unlawful Termination
Employees who have been wrongfully terminated are entitled to compensation for lost wages, benefits, and emotional distress.
In cases where the employer acted intentionally or recklessly, an employee may also receive punitive damages if the employer showed an apparent disregard for an employee’s legal rights.
If you feel you’ve been illegally fired from your job or if discriminatory or harassing behavior led up to your firing, Ottinger Employment Lawyers can help.
We have defended the rights of workers throughout California for over twenty years. As one of the country’s top boutique employment law firms, we are devoted to helping employees in difficult employment situations.
Call us now at 213-204-8002 and let us help you.