Sometimes it is easy to tell when a California employer has fired you without legitimate cause. However, in other cases, wrongful termination is harder to prove. One of the reasons could be because the evidence of the wrongful firing is circumstantial in nature. Circumstantial evidence is not direct evidence, so it is possible to overlook it or be confused by it.
The Cornell Law School explains that circumstantial evidence proves an event has occurred by inference. Circumstantial evidence of a crime is witnessing an event or circumstance and drawing an inference that wrongdoing has occurred. For example, if a person was running away from a crime scene, the fact the person was fleeing from that location might serve as circumstantial evidence that the person is guilty of a crime.
FindLaw provides some examples of how circumstantial evidence may point to wrongful termination. Civil rights laws forbid a person from being terminated due to religion, ethnicity, age, among other characteristics. So if someone fired you after learning you were a certain age, you might have cause to think you were fired unjustly. Similarly, if a worker had recently come out as a member of the LGBT community, then a sudden termination after the fact can suggest discrimination on an employer’s part.
Circumstantial evidence can also manifest if multiple firings occur. Sometimes a business will fire a group of people that, conspicuously, are all women, all members of a particular religion, or all of a certain age group. If no one else was fired, it would appear the business singled out a specific group for termination. There may be instances where a company fires multiple people as cover to terminate just one person.
It can be hard to scrutinize indirect evidence that you were unjustly fired. If you do have circumstantial evidence of a wrongful firing, consultation with a professional civil rights attorney can help determine how a business may have unjustly fired you and tried to use indirect means to make it appear legitimate.