Wrongful termination is not an uncommon issue in the realm of employment in California. Most of the times, such incidents go against the exceptions to the at-will employment rule (i.e. employers can fire workers with or without any reason). Indeed, an employee is said to have been wrongfully discharged from work if any of the following exceptions take place:
· Public policy violation. An employee who files a worker’s compensation claim or refuses to take part in an illegal activity cannot be terminated for doing so. Otherwise, it is a violation of public policy.
· Implied contract. An employee who is told verbally about long-term employment with his or her employer has an implied contract. Terminating him or her at will goes against the said contract, thus can be a grounds for wrongful dismissal.
· Written contract. An employee who has signed a written contract with the employer can only be fired in accordance to the terms and conditions stated within the contract. Any decision to terminate him or her is a violation of the written contract’s terms and condition, thus allowing him or her to establish a claim of wrongful termination.
· Covenant of good faith. An employee who is fired despite him or her performing well in his or her job is a breach to the covenant of good faith, and thus a form of illegal dismissal.
· Constructive discharge. Getting fired doesn’t always mean receiving termination papers. There are instances wherein an employee who feels that the hostile and abusive working conditions or environment is too much for him or her to handle that he or she has no other choice but to resign. This is called constructive discharge, and it can be grounds for filing a claim.
If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, it is important that you hire an employment attorney so that you may be able to establish a lawsuit. Because the victim of such an unfair workplace treatment usually carries a burden of proof, you need an expert lawyer to establish that proof and present evidence in your claim.
Meanwhile, here are some other things to consider aside from taking:
· If your employer did terminated you on illegal grounds, then you need to first exhaust administrative remedies before you could retain legal counsel from a reputable wrongful termination lawyer. In particular, you need to file a complaint with an agency who handles employment cases, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).
· While you are dealing with your claim with either agency or with your attorney, you need to find a new job. It may not be required, but it helps if the damages you incurred are reduced.