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How California workers can handle a wrongful termination

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2022 | Employment Law

Companies fire workers in California every day. Some workers get fired for performance issues or attitude problems. Others lose their jobs because of issues with the company, such as numerous redundant positions or downsizing as the company restructures to avoid closure.

When you lose your job, you will face immediate and significant hardship. Many households only have a few weeks’ worth of household expenses in savings, which means that you could quickly find yourself falling behind on credit cards and mortgage payments after an unexpected job loss.

If you suspect that your employer wrongfully terminated you, you may have a legal case to pursue either compensation or possibly reinstatement to your prior position with the business. How do you take action after what you think was a wrongful termination?

Learn about the basics of such claims

A termination with little warning isn’t necessarily wrongful. California has at-will employment laws that make it legal for companies to fire you for almost any reason. In fact, they don’t need to give you a reason at all. They can fire you without an excuse or an explanation.

However, the timing of the termination may make it clear that factors other than your job performance or company necessity influenced the decision. Companies can still face wrongful termination claims despite operating in at-will employment states like California if they fire workers who have made use of their protected employment rights.

Retaliatory firings are common after workers report sexual harassment, file claims for workers’ compensation or alert management or regulatory agencies about illegal or unsafe practices at the company. If an employer terminates you for speaking up for yourself or your coworkers or if they fire you for making use of your basic rights, then the termination could be wrongful and therefore actionable.

How do you prove a wrongful termination?

If your company let you go after you made a discrimination complaint, presenting evidence about your complaint and the company’s response to it validate your claims that they fired you wrongfully.

Keeping your own records will be an important step, especially if your employer tries to make the termination look less questionable than it actually is. If your boss starts writing you up every time you show up late to work despite never penalizing you previously and not writing up others who also show up to work late, that could be a warning sign of an impending retaliatory termination.

Information about mistreatment from coworkers and also documentation of attempts to resolve these issues can help bolster your claim. The more documentation you keep on your own, the easier it will be for you to show that the company’s actions were a violation of the law and your rights. Realizing that you may have endured a wrongful termination is often the first step toward remedying the issue.