When you are faced with wrongful termination, an attorney who has regularly advised and represented clients in employment law matters can help you achieve a cost-effective and timely resolution. To learn more about our legal services, contact our firm to schedule a consultation and case evaluation.
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The law on wrongful termination is complex. If you have been fired from your job or retaliated against in another way, potential outcomes often depend on the facts of your case. The best way to learn about these potential outcomes and about your options is to talk with an attorney. Contact the law firm of trial attorney Anthony J. Poidmore in Roseville, California, by completing an online contact form or calling 916-367-0802.
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Anyone who has ever been dismissed from a job thinks it is unfair. However, under California and federal laws, unfair termination is not necessarily wrongful. Wrongful termination is a legal term that refers to a firing that happened illegally.
Wrongful termination takes many forms. It happens when employees are fired because of discrimination based on race, age, sex, disability, religion, sexual orientation or national origin. It also occurs due to retaliation for reporting an employer's illegal act (this is often called whistleblowing), or in violation of an employment contract.
Wrongful Termination - An Overview
Wrongful termination refers to the involuntary termination of an employee in violation of the law or an employment contract. For example, federal and some state laws enumerate specific characteristics against which employers must not discriminate. Employment contracts often spell out reasons that an employee may and may not be fired. If you believe that your employer terminated you in violation of the law or a contract, speak with an experienced employment law attorney from Anthony J. Poidmore, Attorney at Law in Roseville, California, for advice.
Under federal law, employers must not discriminate against employees based on certain characteristics. It is illegal to make employment decisions based on:
- National origin
In addition, some states ban discrimination based on characteristics such as sexual orientation and familial status.
Federal and some state laws protect workers from retaliation for:
- Making legal claims against employers
- Filing complaints about workplace safety
- Refusing to work in unsafe conditions
- Filing for workers' compensation
If the reason for termination violates public policy, the employee may have a cause of action for wrongful termination. Reasons for termination that violate public policy include:
- Employee's refusal to commit an illegal act on behalf of the employer
- Exercising a legal right
- Complaining about or reporting illegal conduct of the employer
Breach of Contract
When an employee signs an employment contract, the contract often states that the employee may only be fired for good cause. Union contracts also may establish the same rule. Alternatively, the employee may have formed an oral contract with the employer to the same effect.
Sometimes, even when there is no explicit contract, the employee handbook establishes rules for termination upon which employees rely.
If an employer breaches a contract or agreement by firing the employee without good cause, the employee may have a legal claim against the employer. An attorney can explain whether the employee's rights have been violated and what the remedy may be.
Some reasons for termination are neither illegal nor contract violations. If a worker is an at-will employee, meaning that the employee or employer may end the relationship at any time and for almost any reason, the employer does not need good cause for firing the employee. The employer simply may not want to see the employee anymore. On the other hand, whether a contract exists or not, it is illegal to fire an employee in violation of the anti-discrimination and other laws described above.
If you or a loved one has been wrongfully terminated, or if you believe that you will be fired for a reason that violates the law or a contract, contact an employment law attorney from Anthony J. Poidmore, Attorney at Law in Roseville, California, for information on your rights.
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