Even though California is an ‘at-will’ state in which you can quit a job whenever you choose and your employer can dismiss you for their own reasoning, there are some scenarios that make dismissal illegal. Federal and state laws protect you from discrimination, violation of public policy, harassment, and retaliation.

If you negotiated an employment contract, you may not be working as an at-will employee, and your employer may owe you if you were dismissed contrary to provisions in that legal document. When you have questions about a recent parting of ways with an employer, Erkel Law P.C. has answers about the grounds for a Sacramento wrongful termination case. Reach out today.

Employers Who Discriminate

Employers most often fire, demote, or fail to promote qualified employees as ways to discriminate. Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, and federal law, employers cannot discriminate against protected classes of employees. These categories include race, color, sex, pregnancy, age, disability, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, citizenship status, military service, and genetic information. Key points about California discrimination laws include:

  • Employees who are discriminated against must first file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before filing a civil lawsuit
  • Employers cannot retaliate and punish employees who file EEOC complaints, or a second complaint is warranted
  • Keep meticulous evidence, such as emails, letters concerning job performance, job evaluations, the employment contract, noted discriminatory treatment by employers or other employees, and anything else that supports a claim
  • Work with Erkel Law, P.C. to file a lawsuit asking for lost wages, reinstatement, damages for emotional trauma, and punitive damages if applicable

Not only is an employer breaking the law when they retaliate against employees who file discrimination charges with the EEOC, but Erkel Law, P.C. can strike against whistleblower retaliation with grounds for another type of Sacramento wrongful termination case.

Retaliation and Whistleblowing

Employers commonly retaliate against employees who serve as government whistleblowers by wrongfully terminating them. Whistleblower activity is different from discrimination because it may have nothing to do with the employee, but everything to do with an employee discovering fraudulent activity perpetrated by an employer. Activity can include wage and hour violations for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, categorizing some employees as independent contractors to avoid paying and withholding taxes, Social Security, and other benefits, or dumping toxic chemicals into the Sacramento River. Erkel Law, P.C. can assess a retaliatory situation and strategize with clients to find grounds for a Sacramento wrongful termination case.

Employers Who Violate Public Policy

Some wrongful termination claims overlap and are an opportunity to strengthen what an employee is reporting. For example, an employee fired for reporting they were shorted overtime pay also has a public policy issue because public policy violations occur when an employer treats an employee in a way that society would find unfair. Employees who are terminated because they refuse to break the law at an employer’s behest, request time off for jury duty, military reserve duty, or family leave, or testify truthfully against an employer in court could have cases against employers violating public policy.

Call to Learn More About Grounds for Unlawful Termination in Sacramento

Many devious employers believe because California is an at-will state, all they have to do is terminate your employment without giving you a reason, and they will get away with discrimination or retaliation. But if you strongly suspect your termination is unlawful, an attorney can help you explore your legal options.

Make notes of how you were treated before being fired. Were you demoted, harassed because of a personal trait, reassigned to a dead-end job, berated, and then fired? Begin documenting your ordeal now, and call Erkel Law, P.C. to seek justice, amass evidence, and organize the grounds for a Sacramento wrongful termination case.

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