Losing your job under any circumstances can be a traumatic and stressful experience. However, if your job termination was illegal or came under unfair circumstances in which you were harassed, discriminated, or retaliated against, it is particularly egregious. A firing or layoff that involves violations of the law is known as wrongful termination.
It is against the law to violate public policy while firing a worker. For example, a California employer cannot fire an employee for taking time off to vote, serving on a jury, taking time off to serve in the military or National Guard, or because he or she filed a workers’ compensation claim for an injury that was sustained on the job. Employees also cannot be fired for notifying the authorities about illegal activity or wrongful activity that is going on at the workplace. This is known as “whistleblowing.” For example, you cannot be fired for alerting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) about unsafe conditions in the workplace.
It is also illegal for California companies to fire employees based on discrimination. If you were fired because of protected characteristics such as race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, or pregnancy, it is important that you speak with a wrongful termination lawyer right away. There are statutes of limitations or deadlines that apply to discrimination claims. So, time is of the essence.
If you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job in California, you may be able to obtain compensation for your losses.
If you’re facing such a challenging situation, it is imperative that you contact an experienced California attorney who will remain on your side, fight for your rights and help you seek fair compensation for your tremendous losses.
There are a number of state and federal laws that help protect employees from discrimination and harassment in the workplace. What many employees may not be aware of is the fact that these laws also protect them from retaliation.
This essentially means that employers cannot punish or penalize workers for filing complaints about discrimination or harassment or participating in workplace investigations. In such cases “punishment” could include a variety of employment actions from being passed up for a promotion to facing a pay cut or being denied a raise or training opportunities.
Retaliation in the workplace is the most frequently alleged basis of discrimination in the workplace, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
For example, your employer cannot fire you or retaliate against you if you are engaged in the following types of protected activities:
- You have filed a complaint or are a witness in a complaint, investigation or lawsuit.
- You have been communicating with a supervisor or manager about employment discrimination and/or harassment.
- You answered questions during an employer investigation of alleged harassment.
- You refused to follow orders that would result in discriminatory behavior.
- You resisted sexual advances or stood up to protect a colleague from harassment.
- You requested accommodation for a disability or to pursue a religious practice.
- You asked managers or colleagues about salary information to uncover potentially discriminatory wages.
- You complained about not getting proper meal or rest breaks.
- You sought unpaid minimum or overtime wages.
- You refused to work off-the-clock or without pay.
Under state and federal laws, your employer cannot punish you for asserting your rights. Employees who stand up against discrimination or harassment are protected from retaliation. However, it is a fact that retaliation still happens in U.S. workplaces. More than a third of the discrimination charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in the past few years include a retaliation claim.
If you believe that your employer is retaliating against you for engaging in legally protected activity, it is imperative that you contact an experienced attorney who will remain on your side, fight for your rights, and help ensure that your legal rights and best interests are protected.
Contact us to request a free consultation to learn more.