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What does wrongful termination mean in California?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2022 | Employment Law

.California is an at-will employment state, which means that workers can leave a job for any reason. It also means that employers can terminate employees without reason. Despite the wide berth that they have, however, employers still cannot fire an employee when doing so violates the law.

An employee who’s wrongfully terminated may opt to pursue legal action against the employer. This enables them to try to rectify the damages they’re having to deal with due to the illegal discharge by their employer

Illegal terminations

Any termination that’s considered retaliatory is illegal. This means that employers can’t get rid of employees because they participate in a protected activity, such as reporting discrimination or harassment that’s occurring in the workplace. 

Employees also can’t face termination because they participate in an investigation into an illegal matter. This includes things like working with CalOSHA about workplace safety violations or answering questions from the EEOC about the company breaking employment laws. 

Keeping records can help

All employees, even those who don’t think their job is in danger, should keep track of basic work-related information. For example, you should keep a record of all performance evaluations because those can show a positive history on the job if they’re good reviews. You should also keep a record of things negative that occur at work just in case those are tied to the termination. 

Realizing that you were wrongfully terminated is often a shock. Taking legal action afterward is possible, but you need to act quickly because there are time limits in place for these matters. Working with someone who’s familiar with employment law can help you to learn your options and build your case.