If you were recently fired from your job, you may be entitled to monetary damages for lost wages and emotional distress as a result of wrongful termination. If your employer's behavior was egregious enough at a high level, you may also be entitled to punitive damages.
At The Armstrong Law Firm, we have obtained millions of dollars on behalf of clients in recent years, winning favorable results in unlawful termination cases against some of California's largest employers.
Free consultation: To set up a time to talk with one of our attorneys, please call 415-692-0462.
What Counts As Wrongful Termination?
California is an "at-will" employment state. This means that for most employees, their employer may fire them at any time and can terminate them at any time so long as it's not for an unlawful reason. The termination may be unfair, but being unfair is not necessarily unlawful unless it violates a specific law.
There are situations where job termination may be unlawful:
- Discrimination: If the termination was unlawful discrimination on the basis of your age, race, sex, religion, national origin or other protected classification.
- Retaliation: If the termination was in retaliation for exercising your rights such as taking leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), filing a sexual harassment complaint or supporting another's claim.
- Breach of employment contract: If you had a written or verbal employment contract and the termination violated the terms and conditions of that contract.
- Nonparticipation in illegal activity: If you were fired after refusing to carry out an illegal act on behalf of your employer.
- Violation of state or federal employment law: If you were fired in a manner that is in violation of California or federal law such as being a whistleblower.
It can be very difficult to prove that you were terminated for one of the reasons mentioned above, which is why you should contact our experienced employment attorneys to determine if you have a valid wrongful termination claim.
Does An Employment Contract Matter?
The existence of an employment contract may provide a basis for action, but is not necessary to commence an action to obtain justice in a wrongful termination case. Most of the wrongful termination cases our firm handles involve employees who are in protected groups and classes such as sex, age, race, sexual orientation, disability and pregnancy.
Constructive Dismissal vs. A Retaliation Firing
Although wrongful termination, by definition, concerns the illegal firing of an employee, a claim may also be brought for constructive dismissal if an employee feels that he or she has no choice but to quit a job. California recognizes that in some cases, an employer may make working conditions so intolerable for an employee based on being in a protected group that any reasonable person would feel compelled to resign. If you felt forced to quit a job because your employer made your job conditions unbearable, our attorneys can help determine whether you may have a valid legal claim.
Whistleblowers Are Protected By Law
There are both state and federal laws in place that are designed to protect whistleblowers from wrongful termination and retaliatory discharge. These laws are meant to allow employees to notify the government about illegal employer practices without having to fear being fired.
What Happens To The Employer?
If an employer retaliates against an employee who has informed the government about illegal activities, the employer may be subject to civil penalties. In these types of cases, the employer has the burden of proof. That is, the employer must show that it would have fired or demoted the employee regardless of the employee's status as a whistleblower. We will thoroughly review your claim to help determine whether you may have experienced illegal retaliation for acting as a whistleblower.
Breach Of Contract And Wrongful Dismissal
If an employer fires an employee without good cause, or if good cause is used as pretext for firing the employee for some other reason, then it may be possible to bring a wrongful dismissal claim due to a breach of contract.
In addition, an implied contract may be in place in other documents that outline when an employee may expect to be terminated. If an employee is fired in a manner that goes against the law, he or she may also have a wrongful termination claim based on breach of implied contract.
In any employment contract, either expressly stated or implied, the state of California recognizes a covenant of good faith and fair dealing in employment relationships. Essentially, this means that employers are legally bound to treat their employees fairly. If, for example, an employer were to fire an employee just before he or she were to receive a benefit from becoming fully vested, then it may be considered a breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, wrongful termination in violation of public policy and, if it can be linked to discrimination based on being in a protected group.
Client testimonial: "I hired The Armstrong Law Firm for an age discrimination, wrongful termination case. Kelly Armstrong came highly recommended to me from other employees that she had represented before. I went straight to her and she was focused, aggressive and did not stop advocating for me. They fought for me for over two years and won. If she'll take your case, I'd hire her. I'd also hire her again to help me."
Reviewed By: James H.
Contact A Wrongful Termination Attorney In San Francisco
If you think you have been wrongfully terminated, or if you are being threatened with termination in violation of the law, please complete our online contact form.