Woodland Hills Wrongful Termination Lawyers
Seeking Justice for Unlawfully Fired Employees
Being terminated from your job can be stressful and life altering. While your employer may give a legitimate reason for your firing, you may suspect you were fired for reasons that violate local or federal laws. When this is the case, your employer can be held liable for their actions.
If you believe you were unfairly fired from your job, contact our trusted Woodland Hills wrongful termination attorneys today. Payab & Associates is a leading Southern California employment law firm that has recovered millions for wronged workers.
Suspect you were wrongfully fired? Let us help you protect your rights. Reach out to our attorneys in Woodland Hills to request a free, confidential case evaluation.
Determining an Illegal Firing in California
It is important to establish whether or not your employer was acting in the wrong when they fired you. California is an at-will state. This means an employee's position can be terminated at any time, for any reason, as long as the reason does not fall under wrongful termination.
Under state and federal law, there are numerous circumstances in which termination can be categorized as wrongful. The state of California has some of the strongest protections against wrongful termination, though many employees are not aware of the extent of these protections.
Your employer was in the wrong if they fired you:
- Due to discrimination, whether based on gender, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, pregnancy, disability, or membership in another protected group
- Due to a whistleblower action (retaliation)
- Due to your unwillingness to break the law
- Due to your exercising a legal right
- Due to another legal suit filed against the company
- In violation of an existing employment contract
In addition, you can be subject to a constructive dismissal, or when your employer creates a hostile work environment that causes you to quit. If proven, constructive dismissal can be considered a wrongful termination, since it wasn't a true voluntary resignation.
Constructive Dismissal and Wrongful Termination
Generally, leaving a job voluntarily would not count as a termination. However, if you can prove your leave was purposely coerced by your employer, then you may have a case for constructive discharge.
Constructive discharge, or dismissal, is a situation where an employee resigns after their employer creates a hostile work environment. If proven, constructive dismissal can be considered a wrongful termination, since it wasn't a true voluntary resignation.
If your employer took the following actions, you may have a strong case for constructive discharge:
- Suddenly demoting you without a valid reason
- Consistently paying you incorrectly
- Refusing to investigate your complaints of sexual harassment or other issues
- Significantly changing your work hours or location without notice or agreement
- Falsely accusing you of misconduct
- Bullying or harassing you or employees in a particular group
Exceptions to At-Will Employment in California
While California is an at-will state, there are still some employment situations that are considered exceptions to this rule. The most obvious case is when there is a written contract or other binding agreement stating you can only be fired for reasons stated in the contract.
Implied promises can also circumvent the at-will employment rule, though these are more difficult to prove. These are cases where an employer sets forth specific progressive discipline protocols in the employee handbook or promises employment for a specified amount of time.
In these cases, courts typically consider the following factors:
- The length of time you were employed
- The regularity of promotions in your position
- Your history of positive job reviews
- Any assurances that you would have continued employment
- Whether your employer violated a typical company protocol when they fired you
- Whether you were promised long-term employment when you were hired
What to Do If You Were Wrongfully Fired
If you believe your termination involved one of the above circumstances, you may have a viable claim against your former employer. Wrongful termination can be difficult to prove due to employers' concealing the real motives behind their actions. Therefore, it's important to reach out to an attorney for the best chance of success.
If you suspect your termination was illegal, it is important to collect evidence. Document events leading to your termination and the specifics of your actual firing. Gather any performance reviews, as positive performance reviews leading to a firing can indicate reasons other than performance for your firing. List the names of all involved parties and, where possible, reach out to witnesses.
After filing your wrongful termination claim with the EEOC or FCHR, you must allow them 180 days to investigate. After those 180 days, if they haven't returned a final ruling or you disagree with their provided ruling, our wrongful termination lawyers can help you file your lawsuit.
Our firm is well-versed in investigating the facts behind our clients' claims for wrongful termination. We can create a clear narrative vividly showcasing the employer's wrongdoing in these cases. Our wrongful discharge attorneys have the resources to thoroughly assess your claim and diligently pursue the relief you deserve.
We're ready to stand with you. Call our Woodland Hills law office at (818) 918-5522 today for assistance with filing a wrongful termination claim.