Have you been fired in California for what you believe was an illegal or inappropriate reason? Were you terminated after you filed a workers’ comp claim, participated in a whistle-blower report, or took maternity leave? If you were dismissed on any of these grounds or for other unlawful reasons, then you might be entitled to file a wrongful termination lawsuit and recover significant compensation.
If you suspect you might have a California wrongful termination case, contact Pimentel Law right away. Our respected California termination law attorneys focus on helping victims of injustices like wrongful termination get maximum settlements and verdicts for their claims. See our client testimonials and case results for just some of the ways we have helped clients get the justice and compensation they were owed and get on the road to recovery.
If you or a loved one have experienced wrongful termination in California, Pimentel Law is here to help you stand up for your legal rights. Your initial consultation is completely free, plus you won’t have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses or lawyer fees unless we help you recover compensation for your case. To get started, contact us at (877) 265-8084 or online to set up a free consultation with a California termination law attorney.
Who Is Considered an Employee in California? What Is “At-Will” Employment?
Under California employment law, employees are defined as workers who are under the control, supervision, and direction of their employer. This often means that the employer controls how, when, and where the work is performed. Employers typically have more responsibilities to their employees than they do to independent contractors.
California is an “at-will” state, which means that employees can quit their job at any time, and employers can fire employees at any time for any lawful purpose. This California termination law means that an employer can fire someone even if they’re doing a great job and without having a specific reason. Exceptions to this rule are if the employer and employee have a contract that specifically prevents termination or if the employer fires someone for an illegal reason.
What Activities Are Protected From Unlawful Termination?
Despite that California is an “at-will” employment state, anti-discrimination, retaliation, and wrongful termination laws in California prohibit an employer from terminating employees for unlawful reasons, including:
- Firing an employee after they take time off that they were entitled to, such as maternity leave, medical leave or military leave
- Terminating an employee because they reported an illegal activity or participated in a whistle-blower investigation
- Firing someone because of a personal characteristic that falls within a protected class, such as gender, religion, race, or disability
- Terminating an employee in retaliation for reporting an unsafe work condition or filing a workers’ compensation claim
Steps You Should Take if You’ve Experienced Wrongful Termination in California
If you’ve been a victim of wrongful termination in California, you’re likely in shock, angry, frustrated, and sad. It’s difficult to know where to turn next, but if you think you might have been fired for an illegal reason, it’s critical to take a few steps to protect your rights:
Gather evidence. Write down everything you can think of about your termination – when it happened, who did it, the reasons they gave, what happened shortly before your termination, etc. It’s essential to write things down as soon as possible because you might forget important details later.
If possible, gather any written documents you have related to your firing, such as emails or letters. Also review your employment contract to see if it had any provisions that might have prohibited termination.
Protect yourself. If you’ve been terminated, it’s tempting to try to get back at your former employer by doing something like badmouthing the company publicly or destroying company property. However, it’s essential to avoid retaliation. Even if you have a valid wrongful termination suit in California, any type of retaliation on your part might ruin your chances of getting the compensation you’re owed.
It’s also important to protect your physical well-being, especially if you were fired in the midst of a hostile work environment. Leave the premises as quickly as possible after termination. If anyone from the company wants to talk with you later, consider speaking with them over the phone instead of going to your former workplace to meet with them.
Contact a trusted employment lawyer. Even if your termination was clearly illegal, it might be difficult to get the compensation you’re owed if you pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit in California on your own.
Companies often have lawyers on hand who are highly paid to do everything they can to protect the company’s reputation and assets. If you try to fight them by yourself, it could have widespread impacts – not only on your current situation, but on your future prospects as well.
A respected California termination law attorney can protect your rights by helping you gather the evidence you need to support your case.
Damage Awards in Wrongful Termination Lawsuits
The damages that employees can recover after wrongful termination in California typically include compensation for things like:
- Back pay
- Emotional distress
- Lost income and benefits
- Legal costs
In certain situations, workers might also be able to recover punitive damages if their employer’s wrongdoing was especially heinous.
Why Choose Pimentel Law? How We Can Help
At Pimentel Law, we focus on providing high-quality, personalized service to each of our clients, so you can trust you’ll get the attention you deserve. Our compassionate and experienced California termination law attorneys will take the time to get to know you and help you make the best decisions for your personal circumstances, and we won’t rush through your case.
If you’ve been a victim of wrongful termination in California, you don’t have to face this alone. Pimentel Law is here for you. We’ll stand by you and aggressively fight for your rights throughout a trial and appeal if that’s what it takes to help you get the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation and learn more about what Pimentel Law can do for you, call us today at (877) 265-8084 or contact us online.