Wrongful termination is a phrase that is used often when discussing employment law because it allows individuals who unexpectedly lost their jobs to be compensated or reinstated depending on the circumstances. The general idea behind wrongful termination is that if you were unlawfully fired, then your rights as a worker were violated, and you should be compensated accordingly. The important distinction to make is that your termination was unlawful and not simply unfair.
Many people are fired unfairly every day, and as tragic as it may be, it is not necessarily illegal. The law is very clear about wrongful termination and what constitutes an unlawful firing. Some common elements of a wrongful or illegal termination are:
- Discrimination suffered by the terminated employee before or during the time at which the employee was fired.
- Being fired as retaliation for exercising employee rights such as informing the police of illegal activity being performed by the employer or reporting sexual harassment.
- Termination that violates a contract or agreement held between the employee and the employer.
There are other elements that may make up a wrongful termination, but these are among the most common. Additionally, being able to prove that any of these elements existed is an extremely strong way to make a good wrongful termination claim. For example, if you can provide emails or video recordings of your employer using a racial slur or making inappropriate gestures toward you, you will likely have a very strong case.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, it is highly recommended that you speak with an attorney. The state of California prides itself on treating employees well, and there are many state-specific provisions that employees should be aware of. Do not hesitate to exercise your rights in the event of a wrongful termination.