Wrongful termination refers to termination of an employee for an illegal reason or in violation of the employee’s rights. Although most employment in California is “at-will,” that is, an employer can demote or terminate an employee at any time and for any reason or no reason at all, it is illegal for an employer to terminate a person’s employment because of the employee’s legally protected actions or characteristics. For example, an employee who is terminated because of unlawful discrimination or because the employee uncovered and reported illegal or unsafe activities by the employer, may have a claim for wrongful termination.
Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney Afshin Mozaffari is skilled in this area of the law and can help you navigate the legal system. The most common bases for wrongful termination lawsuits in California are:
1. Wrongful discharge under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is the primary law the provides employees with protection from discrimination, retaliation, and harassment in employment. The FEHA makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who oppose discrimination or harassment, file a complaint about discrimination or harassment, or testify or assist in any investigation or lawsuit concerning discrimination or harassment.
2. Whistleblower protection
In addition to FEHA, which prohibits retaliation against employees who protest discrimination, California has many other whistleblower laws such as:
- Labor Code section 1102.5 – this is California’s most general whistleblower protection law which prohibits employers from retaliating against an employee who calls attention to unlawful behavior or activities in the workplace or refuses to engage in illegal activity
- Labor Code section 98.6 – this law makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee who complains about unpaid wages, or files or threatens to file Labor Code violations (e.g., wage and hour violations) to the California Labor Commissioner
- Labor Code section 6310 – this law prohibits whistleblower retaliation against employees who report violations of occupational health and safety rules
- Government Code section 8547 – this is California’s public employee whistleblower law which protects public employees who reports suspected violations of law
3. Wrongful termination in violation of public policy
This typically happens when an employee is fired for refusing to break the law, performing a legal obligation, exercising a legal right or privilege, or reporting a potential violation of an important law.
4. Wrongful constructive termination
Wrongful constructive termination is termination under circumstances that would give rise to a wrongful termination claim as if the employee actually had been fired. California law recognizes constructive termination as occurring when an employer intentionally creates or knowingly permits such intolerable working conditions for an employee, that the worker reasonably feels no choice but to resign.
Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer Afshin Mozaffari has assisted many employees in wrongful termination cases and has been successful in representing employees who have been treated unfairly and wrongfully terminated as a result of engaging in protected conduct. Mozaffari Law is here to advise you regarding whether your termination was unlawful and what your next steps should be. If you feel you may have been wrongfully terminated, contact Mozaffari Law at 323.696.0702 or Info@mozaffarilaw.com for a confidential consultation.