Losing your job unexpectedly can result in financial hardship. A termination, in particular, can make it very difficult for you to secure another job that offers similar compensation or benefits without lost wages in the interim.

California has many laws in place that protect employees from retaliation and termination in situations ranging from reporting an employer for harassment to becoming the victim of a violent crime and needing time for physical or emotional recovery. Sadly, there are still plenty of companies willing to violate these laws.

If you suspect that your employer violated your legal rights through what you believe to be wrongful termination, you may be able to take legal action to either seek compensation for the financial losses you suffered or even demand your job back.

What are common forms of wrongful termination?

Perhaps the most straightforward kind of wrongful termination involves the clear-cut violation of the terms of your employment contract. Your employer may attempt to terminate you without documentation or cause prior to the end of your contract. They may also do so while refusing any severance pay or other bonuses and benefits promised at the end of your work contract.

Clearly misrepresenting the intention behind your firing is another form of wrongful termination. For example, if your employer has repeatedly made jokes about how your age has made it too hard to teach you technology, and then they write you up for tardiness and terminate you, you may be able to allege that the write-up was actually an attempt to cover up ageism on the part of your employer.

If your employer fires you because you reported a member of management for harassment or discrimination, or became a whistleblower because of illegal behavior by the company, that could also constitute a wrongful termination.

Companies have an obligation to do right by their workers

It is easier for most people to find a new job while currently working, as their employment status gives them more negotiation power in terms of the position or compensation they will accept for their labor. When a company fires an employee wrongfully, the results can be years of reduced earnings or months of financial hardship if a new job isn’t forthcoming.

Taking action to protect yourself from the financial implications of wrongful termination and hold your former employer accountable can benefit you, the people who depend on you and other people who wind up working for that company in the future.