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.
Learn More About Complex Laws from a Sacramento Lawyer
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 Claims
If you have been wrongfully terminated, you have rights. You may be able to recover monetary damages against your former employer or, if you have not been released yet, negotiate a favorable severance package. If you are facing wrongful termination, an employment law attorney from Anthony J. Poidmore, Attorney at Law in Roseville, California, can help you make sense of the situation.
Illegal Reasons for Terminating an Employee
While almost any employee can be fired for poor performance, federal and some state laws protect employees from termination due to specific reasons unrelated to job performance. Those reasons include:
- Discrimination based on race, gender, national origin, color, age or religion
- Harassment, including sexual harassment
- Discrimination based on a disability that could have been reasonably accommodated by the employer
- Retaliation for filing a claim of harassment or discrimination
- Retaliation for filing a qui tam/whistleblower action
- Retaliation for supporting a protected person who filed a claim
- Retaliation for taking leave allowed by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Violations of labor laws
Some of these violations carry statutory penalties, while others can result in monetary damages based on the employee's back pay and other elements. Some may merit punitive damages or offer the potential to pursue more than one wrongdoer. An experienced attorney can review your circumstances to determine a suitable approach.
Violation of Employment Contract
An employee who has a written or oral contract with an employer may have a legal cause of action if the employer fires the employee for a reason not allowed by the contract. Similarly, the employee handbook may lay out certain rules for termination. If you have been fired in violation of your contract, it is a good idea to contact a lawyer and explore your options.
What to Do If You Have Been Terminated
The following steps may help you improve your position if you have been fired.
- Don't act on negative impulses against your employer
- Contact an employment law attorney for advice and representation
- If you have an employment contract, become familiar with its provisions
- Review promises made by the employer and gather evidence of those promises
- Inquire about the reasons for your termination
- Find out who made the decision to fire you
- Request to view your personnel file
- Return all company property
- Consider requesting and negotiating a severance package
- Confirm all agreements regarding the termination and severance in writing
- Enforce your ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) benefits rights
- Enforce your COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) health plan rights
- Do not allow yourself to be intimidated
An employer does not have to pay severance to an employee unless the employment contract requires it or, possibly, if the employee handbook indicates that the employer will do so. An employee may, however, be able to negotiate a severance package in exchange for a promise to waive any legal claims against the employer.
An attorney can help you analyze whether a severance package, a legal action or another approach will best serve your needs.
Speak with an Attorney
If you have been terminated, you may have a right to severance pay, damages and/or unemployment compensation. If you feel you were wrongfully terminated, get in touch with an experienced employment law attorney at Anthony J. Poidmore, Attorney at Law in Roseville, California, to receive thorough advice and strong representation.
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