Losing your job is a stressful and challenging experience, especially when you believe it unjustly or unlawfully happened.
Fortunately, there are specific elements that can help them you a strong case.
1. Discrimination and retaliation
Wrongful termination often happens due to discrimination or retaliation. Under California law, it is illegal for employers to terminate employees based on characteristics such as race, gender, age, disability, religion or sexual orientation. Similarly, retaliation against an employee for reporting workplace discrimination, harassment or participating in investigations is strictly prohibited. In FY 2020, 55.8% of all charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
2. Breach of employment contract
Another important element to consider is whether the termination involved a breach of your employment contract. California is an at-will employment state, meaning employers can terminate employees for any reason, except if there is a contract in place. If you had an employment contract specifying the terms and conditions of your employment, a breach of that contract could be grounds for a wrongful termination claim.
3. Violation of public policy
If your termination goes against a fundamental public policy of the state of California, you may have a strong case. This could include termination for refusing to participate in illegal activities or for taking legally mandated leave, such as jury duty or family medical leave.
4. Constructive discharge
In some cases, employees may not be directly terminated but forced to resign due to intolerable working conditions, known as constructive discharge. To establish this element, you must prove that your working conditions were so unbearable that any reasonable person would have no choice but to resign.
Wrongful termination cases require the careful examination of key elements to help you strengthen your case and seek justice for the unjust loss of your job.