San Diego Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Employment in the state of California is considered “At-Will”, which generally means that an employee can be fired at the the discretion, or at the will, of their employer for any reason at all. Employees that have either not signed a contract with their employer or have worked for the company for less than five years are generally considered at-will.
Feeling secure in your job and your ability to provide for yourself and your family is essential to your well-being. If you’ve been terminated from your job, in some limited situations, you may have recourse against your employer. While the Doctrine of Employment at Will is generally accepted as valid in California, there are exceptions.
If a termination was based on your membership in a group protected from discrimination by law, it would not be legal. An employer may not discriminate or terminate a person because of race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, or age, pursuant to the California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Aside from provisions to protect employees from discrimination, you may also have a case for wrongful termination if you’ve been fired for:
- Exercising your rights not to be discriminated against or harassed pursuant to an employment or labor law
- Taking time off to vote or to serve jury duty
- Taking time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act
- Performing military service
Whether you have been formally terminated, or forced by intolerable working conditions or a hostile work environment to resign, you may have a case for wrongful termination. This is known as constructive discharge.
Exceptions to the Employment at Will Doctrine in California
California is somewhat more enlightened than many other states in protecting a person’s right to gainful employment by placing limitations on unfair firing, and recognizes three legal exceptions to the “at will” doctrine:
- The firing was for reasons contrary to California public policy.
- The firing termination breached an implied contract for employment, for example when an employer has made representations of continued employment, either verbally or in employment manuals, written policies, or other written communications.
- The employer breached an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in the employer/employee relationship. The good faith covenant leaves room for interpretation and opens possibilities to prove wrongful termination for a firing that was malicious or without reasonable cause.
Protect Your Right to Work
Proving a wrongful termination can be challenging and usually requires the services of an employment law attorney who has extensive experience and detailed knowledge of both state and federal laws pertaining to employment and civil rights, as well as familiarity with court rulings in cases similar to yours.
The attorneys at Harrison & Bodell have chosen employment law as a primary practice area because of their commitment to a fair and equitable workplace in California. Gainful employment is a basic human right, one that should not be ripped away because of a whim or a bias. We are passionate about protecting the rights of our state’s citizens to work in a non-hostile environment without fear of losing their livelihood without reason. A stable and vibrant economy depends on employment security, and we will fight for that right if it has been unreasonably denied to you.
As soon after your termination as possible, call Harrison & Bodell in San Diego to schedule an appointment to come in and tell us your story. If you have a valid case based on discrimination, harassment, or on your exercising a legal right, or if your firing falls under one of the three exceptions to the At Will doctrine recognized by California law, we will take your case on a contingency fee retainer, meaning that you will not pay us anything unless you win your case.
Call today, because legal time limits apply.