When Is A Termination "Wrongful" Under California Law?

In California, most workers do not have employment contracts, which makes them subject to "at-will" employment. And while an at-will employee can be terminated at any time, without notice or reason, an employer does not have the right to terminate an at-will employee for an unlawful reason or a purpose that contravenes fundamental public policy.

Fortunately, there are state and federal law protecting many classes and categories of workers from discrimination, retaliation and harassment. At The Rutten Law Firm, APC, our dedicated employment law attorneys stand up for the rights of workers who have been wrongfully terminated on the basis of discrimination, retaliation or harassment. We only represent employees — not employers — and we welcome challenging and difficult cases involving serious financial, emotional or psychological harm.

Employer Pretexts (AKA, False Termination Excuses)

While employers break the law and wrongfully terminate employees, they usually do not admit that an employee was fired for an unlawful reason. Instead, companies often present a bogus excuse for termination called "pretext." Employers will sometimes go to great lengths over several months or more before terminating an employee to create a "papertrail." This false record against an employee is then used to support a pretextual and supposedly legitimate reason for the termination.

At The Rutten Law Firm, APC, our wrongful termination attorneys have seen systematic discrimination against persons with disabilities or older workers at companies like AT&T, Walmart, Bank of America, The Home Depot, Rite-Aid, Target, Wells Fargo Bank and many others. A skilled employment attorney understands how to expose these false excuses that are often used by employers to cover up a wrongful termination .

Did You Know?
A wrongful termination happens when an employee is terminated based on a protected class, category or characteristic — i.e., gender, disability, race, religion or status as a whistleblower, etc. Where a termination violates a state or federal law or is contrary to an established public policy, the termination is wrongful and the employee can file a lawsuit.

Damages Awardable To Wrongfully Terminated Employees

A wrongfully terminated employee may recover lost wages and benefits, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, as well as attorneys' fees and costs. Punitive damages are available when a corporate officer, director or managing agent participates in a termination with a conscious disregard of an employee's rights. Punitive damages can significantly increase the value of wrongful termination cases against large corporations.

An attorney who specializes in employment law can advise whether a termination was the result of unlawful discrimination or retaliation giving rise to a wrongful termination claim, or simply the result of a perhaps unfair, but not illegal, reason. At The Rutten Law Firm, APC, we can help you if you've been wrongfully terminated for any number of reasons, including:

Contact The Rutten Law Firm, APC, For Help

Employees who have been wrongfully termination should not delay in taking action. There are important statutes of limitation and other legal deadlines with which you must comply to proceed.

Contact us online or call 818-308-5945 to learn about your legal rights under California employment law. We offer free initial consultations and take all employment law cases on a contingency fee basis — which means you don't pay unless we win. Our success rate is over 98 percent, and we are prepared to do whatever it takes within the law to win.