Wrongful Termination Attorney in Sherman Oaks, California
California is an at-will employment state, meaning you can quit your job for any or no reason at all any time you like. Similarly, your employer can also terminate your employment at any time for any reason or no reason at all. However, California law does carve out exceptions to at-will employment based on a number of different factors, including discrimination, retaliation, and violations of public policy.
If you feel you’ve been wrongfully terminated in or around Sherman Oaks, California, or anywhere in Los Angeles County, contact The Sweeney Law Firm, APC, immediately. Here at The Sweeney Law Firm, our legal team can help you file a complaint or a lawsuit to fight your wrongful termination. Our goal is to help you recover your lost wages and get compensation for your lost benefits and emotional distress.
What Is Wrongful Termination?
If you’ve been terminated, you may feel it was unfair because you believed you were doing your job as required. A wrongful termination lawsuit, however, must be based on violations of laws, regulations, public policy, or constitutional provisions. A wrongful termination legal action can be based on several types of claims, including:
Violation of an implied contract
Retaliation for whistleblowing
Retaliation for refusing to violate public policy
Termination based on protected political activities
Termination based on discrimination of protected classes
Termination for taking workers’ compensation or reporting a work injury
Termination for availing oneself of California leave laws
WARN Act violations
An implied contract means the employee was either promised long-term employment by a supervisor or employer, or an employee handbook or other document listed specific reasons for termination, voiding at will. Whistleblowing means to report a safety, health, sexual harassment, or other workplace violation to a state or federal regulatory agency.
Violating public policy refers to an employee who refuses to participate in a fraudulent or other questionable activity ordered by the employer — for instance, refusing to hide income from the tax authorities and getting fired for it.
An employee in California cannot be fired for their political beliefs or activities, nor for advocating or joining a labor union.
Termination Involving Discrimination
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and subsequent legislation and court rulings have created “protected classes,” including sex, national origin, race, color, creed or religion, gender identity and sexual orientation, genetic history, veteran status, pregnancy, marital status, age and more. If a worker is terminated because of discrimination based on their protected class, they can file for wrongful termination.
FMLA Leave & WARN Act Violations
If an employee takes leave under California or federal law, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and is terminated because of the leave, that is also subject to a wrongful termination lawsuit.
The WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act requires employers with 100 or more workers to give 60 days of advance notice of a closing or of mass layoffs of 50 or more employees. If they don’t, it is a violation and can lead to wrongful termination actions. The California WARN Act applies to businesses with 75 or more employees.
A final category is known as constructive discharge, which is not in and of itself a termination. Constructive discharge means the employer made life so bad for the employee that the employee had no choice but to quit. This can also be grounds for a wrongful termination suit.
Lawsuits & Potential Remedies
If you’ve been wrongfully terminated, you can certainly file a claim with a federal or state agency, but that can take months to work its way through the system. A quicker, more transparent option is to file a lawsuit against your employer. You still have to prove your case, but things will typically move quicker than they would following a government investigation.
If you do choose to file a lawsuit and you prevail, you can at the very least obtain back pay and compensation for lost benefits. In addition, if your termination caused you pain, suffering, and emotional distress, damages can be awarded for that as well. In California, damages for pain and suffering are uncapped, and some claimants have won millions in court. You may even be restored to your former position, or even to a better one. You will also be able to collect attorney’s fees from your former employer.
In some cases, usually only when fraud, malice, or oppression are shown on behalf of the employer, punitive damages can also be assessed.
Wrongful Termination Attorney
in Sherman Oaks, California
Time is of the essence. If you feel you’ve been terminated for the wrong (illegal) reasons, you need to act quickly. If you believe you’ve been the victim of wrongful termination and you live in the Greater Los Angeles area, contact our firm, The Sweeney Law Firm, APC, today. Our legal team will listen to your story, investigate the incident and take the appropriate action to help you obtain the just compensation you deserve.