Wrongful termination can upend your entire personal and professional life, making it difficult to find new employment, pay bills, and provide for your family. If you think your employer illegally fired you, contact the San Francisco wrongful termination lawyer at The Armstrong Law Firm. We have spent years building a track record and reputation for success so that clients know they can put their trust in our legal team.
A Consultation will help you get answers. Learn more about how we can help by calling (415) 909-3945. You can also message us about your case here. You owe us nothing until we win your case.
Wrongful Termination Attorneys in Northern California
Were you wrongfully terminated by your employer? 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.
Consultation: To request a time to talk with one of our wrongful termination attorneys, please contact us online. With offices in San Francisco, San Jose, Sausalito and Oakland, we serve clients in the Bay Area and throughout Northern California.
“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.
What Counts As Wrongful Termination in California?
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 agreement, speak to a San Francisco breach of contract lawyer
- Non-participation 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 San Francisco employment attorneys to determine if you have a valid wrongful termination claim.
Retaliation Under California Law
Workers in California can find protection from retaliation under the Labor Code section 1102.5. Under the law, the following actions are prohibited by an employer or an agent acting on their behalf:
- Making or adopting any rules or policies that prevent an employee from disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, or another employee with authority to investigate or correct a violation, or from testifying or providing information to any public body conducting an investigation or hearing, if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation or noncompliance of law, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee’s duties.
- Retaliating against an employee for disclosing information, or because the employer believes that the employee either disclosed or may disclose information to a government or law enforcement agency, or another employee with authority to investigate or correct the violation, or for providing information to any public body conducting an investigation or hearing if the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of or non-compliance with the law, regardless of whether disclosing the information is part of the employee’s job duties.
- Retaliating against an employee for refusing to participate in an unlawful activity.
A person suing for retaliation must prove:
- That they engaged in activity protected under Labor Code section 1102.5;
- Their employer took adverse employment action against them; and
- There was a causal link between the protected activity and the employer’s action.
Once an employee successfully establishes that they have a retaliation case, the employer is required to give a legitimate, non-retaliatory reason for the adverse employment action taken against the employee. If the employer is able to produce a legitimate reason for their adverse employment action, the employee must then prove that there was intentional retaliation.
Where an employee suffers adverse employment action for refusing to participate in unlawful activity, it is up to the court to determine whether the identified activity is unlawful or not. To succeed on this claim, the employee must identify both the specific activity and the specific law at issue. The court will then determine whether the identified activity was unlawful. If the activity was unlawful, then, in a trial, it would be left to the jury to determine whether the employee was retaliated against because of their refusal to participate in the identified activity.
Satisfying these legal requirements for your case requires an in-depth knowledge of the law. That is why you need a team like The Armstrong Law Firm with the experience and legal knowledge to fight for you.
California Family Rights Act
The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) is another law where workers can seek protection. The CFRA is a law within the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). CFRA looks at an employee as a whole person with demands outside of work. It gives employees an opportunity to take leave from work to attend to personal or family medical reasons without fear of losing their job.
The CFRA allows workers to take personal or family medical leave to care for their children, spouses, or parents, or to recover from their own serious health conditions. Under the law, a serious health condition is any illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves: inpatient care in a hospital or other healthcare facility or continuing treatment or supervision by a healthcare provider.
The CFRA makes it unlawful for an employer to refuse to grant an eligible employee’s request to take up to a total of 12 work weeks in any 12-month period for family care or medical leave. To be eligible, the employee must:
- Have been with the employer for at least 12 months; and
- Have worked at least 1,250 hours with the employer during the previous 12-month period.
The CFRA prohibits an employer from refusing to hire or taking adverse employment action like firing, suspending, or discriminating against, any worker because of the exercise of their right to family care and medical leave.
To benefit from the protections of the CFRA, employees also have obligations to their employers. Employees are expected to provide 30 days advance notice of their CFRA leave. Employees who cannot comply with the notice requirement because of an unexpected illness or qualifying event must give notice to their employee as soon as it is practicable to do so. The notice can be written or verbal and an employer must respond to a leave request within 5 business days. The employee may also be required to provide written certification from a health care provider verifying their reasons for taking the CFRA leave.
If you have suffered adverse employment action because you requested or took CFRA leave that you were entitled to, contact the San Francisco wrongful termination attorneys at The Armstrong Law Firm.
Evaluating Your Case with a San Francisco Wrongful Termination Attorney
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and state agencies regulate wrongful termination matters. After an exhaustive review or investigation, you may arrive at the conclusion that you have a viable case.
Our San Francisco wrongful termination attorney will review your case for several factors, including:
- Company policies
- Professional performance
- Years employed
- Other relevant factors
A straightforward and accurate assessment of your situation will help you manage expectations, understand your situation, and devise a plan of action for the given circumstances. If there is a legal opportunity to get the money you deserve after a wrongful termination, The Armstrong Law Firm will unwaveringly share this information, present your options, and act on your behalf.
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 in a protected group that any reasonable person would feel compelled to resign.
To prove constructive dismissal, you must show:
- The defendant, through its officers, directors, managing agents, or supervisory employees intentionally created or knowingly permitted working conditions to exist that were so intolerable that a reasonable person in your position would have had no reasonable alternative except to resign; and
- You resigned because of these working conditions.
The law sets a high bar for what is intolerable. A situation at your workplace may cause you annoyance if you are an overly sensitive person, but it may not meet the legal threshold for intolerable working conditions. In order to be sufficiently intolerable, the adverse working conditions must be unusually aggravated or amount to a continuous pattern. In general, single, trivial, or isolated acts of misconduct are insufficient to support a constructive discharge claim. But in some circumstances, a single intolerable incident may constitute a constructive discharge.
Sometimes, an employer may intentionally create intolerable working conditions to force an employer to quit. However, your claim does not depend on whether or not the employer’s actions were intentionally or knowingly created. What matters is that the employer either intentionally created or knowingly allowed working conditions that were so intolerable or aggravated at the time of the employee’s resignation that a reasonable employer would realize that a reasonable person in the employee’s position would be 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.
The Armstrong Law Firm Will Help You Fight Back
You deserve compensation for the harm suffered over your employer’s wrongful termination. The San Francisco wrongful termination lawyer at The Armstrong Law Firm will pursue a civil award for lost wages, lost benefits, mental anguish, and more. We will also let you know if we think your case is a good candidate for demanding punitive damages where negligence occurred.
Our legal team has fought for the rights of hardworking San Franciscans and California for years. Our wrongful termination attorneys will put our resources, knowledge, and experience behind your case so that you have every chance at getting the outcome you want and deserve.
Consult With A Top-Rated Wrongful Termination Lawyer 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 for a Consultation. You can also contact us directly at (415) 909-3945. We can let you know if we think you have a wrongful termination claim against your employer.