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California Wrongful Termination
California wrongful termination means that an employee in California has been fired or laid off for reasons that violate the employee's legal rights. If wrongful termination law has been violated in the firing or laying off of an employee, that employee may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against his or her employer.
California Wrongful Termination and Employment At-Will
California, like many other states, is an at-will state, meaning employers can discipline or fire employees at will (that is, without either needing or providing a reason to the employee). That said, there are situations in which the firing of an employee could be considered wrongful termination. This includes situations in which the employer is discriminating against the employee on the basis of age, race, sex, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, religion, national origin or gender identity. For example a woman cannot be fired simply because she is a woman.
Employees may also have an implied contract with their employer that could prevent the employer from firing the employee without just cause. These implied contracts may be informal and it is up to the court to determine if such a condition existed. The court bases this decision on a variety of factors including promises of job security, the employer's employee handbook or policies, and job performance evaluations.
Finally, employees cannot be fired when the termination is based on a reason that is contrary to public policy. Firing an employee for refusing to do something illegal, for example, could be considered wrongful termination. Employers are also prohibited from firing, disciplining or retaliating against any employee who files a complaint with the government about illegal activities on the employer's part.
California labor laws that protect employees are covered in the California Fair Employment And Housing Act. The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is the state organization charged with investigating allegations of discrimination on the job. In many cases, employees must file a complaint either with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing or with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC, the federal organization responsible for investigating employment complaints) before filing a lawsuit.
California Employment Law
There may also be local laws that prevent employers from firing or disciplining employees for a number of reasons.
In California, job protections do not apply to independent contractors; however, it is not enough that an employer classify someone as an independent contractor. The determination of whether someone is an independent contractor is based on how the worker is treated. This includes examining whether the worker has control over his own work methods and is paid by the job. Any worker who is called an independent contractor but is treated as an employee is likely protected by California employment law.
California Employee Law and Independent Contractors
California Wrongful Termination Legal HelpIf you or a loved one has suffered from Wrongful Termination in California, please click the link below and your complaint will be sent to a California Employment lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.
Last updated on Oct-29-13
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San Francisco, CA: First there was the Twinkie defense and now cupcakes for the wrongfully terminated - only in San Francisco! While Maryann’s employer thought the gesture would soften the blow, she believes there is no room for cupcakes in the California labor laws [READ MORE]
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Torrance, CA: Colin was given a drug test prior to being hired as a computer technician. Generally, California labor law allows employers to test applicants for drugs. But Colin was terminated two months after he was hired, with the excuse that he tested positive for pot [READ MORE]
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Rialto, CA: Juan believes he was wrongfully terminated: he didn’t show up for work one day because he was in jail - a situation obviously out of his control. His employer fired Juan because he was “unreliable” but he had never even been late for work. Is that fair [READ MORE]
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