Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Los Angeles
Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Lawyers
Wrongfully losing your job is among the top five most stressful life events, according to
medical literature. The devastation from job loss and financial insecurity is particularly harmful
to your health and well-being if you were terminated illegally and unjustly because you were
discriminated, harassed, or retaliated against.
Under California and federal law, you are entitled to restitution for emotional and economic harm. Standing up for yourself is also a way to help you process your feelings and emotions obtain the validation you desire. By contacting us, you will gain a wrongful termination attorney that will support you and be with you every step of the way. Strong relationships with our clients is key to our success.
What Does "Employment-At-Will" Mean?
In California, employment is “at-will.” Generally, this means that your employer can fire you for any reason, even for an unfair reason, without notice or ability to tell your side. But “at-will” does not mean that no rules apply and that you have no protections.
When Can I Sue My Employer for Wrongful Termination in California?
There are many exceptions to the at-will rule. If you suspect that you were wrongfully terminated, please contact a wrongful termination lawyer to discuss your potential case. Under the guise or a pretense of a legitimate “at-will” termination, employers often carry out maliciously motivated, wrongful terminations. Just because an employer relies on the “at-will” doctrine and declines to admit that the termination was wrongful, it does not mean that you do not have a case. The cover-up may constitute evidence of guilt and pretext.
What Qualifies as a Wrongful Termination?
The following is not a complete list. Under California’s wrongful termination laws, it is illegal for an employer to terminate you for an illegal reason, including (without limitation):
- Termination in violation of contract or other public policy.
- Termination for reporting lack of patient care, unsafe patient care practices, medicare fraud.
- Employment Discrimination/Hostile Work Environment: Termination for discriminatory reasons based on race, gender, age, disability/health condition, sexual orientation/LGTBQ status, religion, pregnancy, national origin, etc., is illegal.
- Reporting Illegal Discrimination or Sexual Harassment: Under California’s anti-retaliation laws, you are protected from wrongful termination not only when you oppose conduct that is ultimately found to be discriminatory or unlawful harassment, but also when you oppose conduct that you reasonably and in good faith suspected to be discriminatory or unlawful, even if you were ultimately mistaken. You don’t have to prove that an actual violation occurred to be protected from speaking out against what you reasonably believed was a violation as long as you acted with good faith intentions in mind.
- Violation of Medical Rights: California has generous medical leave rights under the CFRA/FMLA, FEHA, and pregnancy leave laws. You are also entitled to medical accommodations at work. A termination that interferes or deprives you of these rights is illegal.
- Complaints of Unsafe Workplace Conditions: California law prohibits your employer from firing you for protesting or refusing to work in unsafe work conditions, including Cal/OSHA violations.
- Reporting illegal, unsafe, or other fraudulent practices, including failure to pay wages, commissions, salary, overtime, or provide meal and rest breaks and/or other violations that affect the public at large, not just the employer or employees.
You also have to file your case timely and follow all applicable administrative exhaustion requirements.
What are the Most Common Types of Wrongful Termination and Workplace Discrimination Cases?
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a comprehensive report in 2020 detailing the most common reasons for workplace discrimination and wrongful termination, with retaliation cases comprising the highest percentage, followed by race discrimination and disability discrimination.
Examples of Wrongful Terminations and Unfair Practices that May Subject Your Employer to Liability
- Refusing to allow you to return to work after CFRA/FMLA leave
- Placing you on a performance improvement plan, that ultimately leads to your termination, after you report sexual harassment
- Subjecting you to a racially hostile work environment that interferes with your ability to work
- Forcing you to work in unsafe work conditions leaving you no choice but to resign
- Denying earned wages, meal and rest breaks, commissions
- Treating individuals outside your protected class/race more favorably in terms of promotions and other employment benefits
- Terminating you under pretextual reasons to replace you with someone substantially younger
- Punishing you for whistleblowing by smearing your reputation, denying your request for promotion, among other adverse actions
This is not a complete list of all the ways an employer violates the law. We provide free and confidential consultations to help you identify additional grounds for wrongful termination liability.
Terminating Whistleblowers is Illegal in California
Employees who do the right thing, speak up, or refuse to participate in illegal actions, are often wrongfully terminated for blowing the whistle on illegal activity. This article contains more detailed information about whistleblower termination.
A whistleblower may be a victim of an illegal practice who objects to ongoing illegal abuse. Examples of whistleblowers include:
- A woman saying no to sexual harassment
- An African-American man reporting that refusal to promote was race motivated
- A disabled employee complaining to Human Resources regarding supervisor’s refusal to accommodate her medical condition
A whistleblower may also be an observer of an illegal practice or safety issues, i.e., a nurse raising concerns of patient safety or a co-worker reporting that another employee was harassed because of his disability.
You may also be a whistleblower if you refuse to engage in an illegal practice directed by your employer.
Whistleblowers are also witnesses who assist in investigations into alleged corporate fraud or illegal activities or report corporations to third party government agencies.
Constructive Wrongful Termination Cases
You have to show that you were either actually or constructively terminated from your job. In other words, you do not necessarily have to be fired to have a wrongful termination claim. A constructive discharge occurs when an employer engages in conduct that forces you to resign. Such a termination is treated as a firing. However, the work environment has to be both subjectively and objectively intolerable. In other words, just because the work environment is intolerable to you, it may not rise to what California finds to be objectively intolerable.
If you are forced to work under illegal conditions, e.g., without meal and rest breaks, without a medical accommodation, etc., you may have a claim for constructive termination if you resign. Continued harassment for whistleblowing or for discriminatory reasons may in some instances likewise evidence an objectively intolerable environment. All cases depend on the individual facts and circumstances. We can help you evaluate whether the circumstances may justify a constructive termination.
Why Hire a Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Attorney?
Our clients often come to us during one of the most difficult times in their lives. A termination may leave you confused, hurt, angry and worried about providing for your family. The prospect of standing up against a corporation may be intimidating. Aggressive advocacy, knowledge, and hard work are the tenets of our practice. But those aspects are not enough for a successful outcome. We limit our caseload because wrongfully terminated individual also needs guidance, answers, and information as to how to achieve a positive outcome.
How to Value a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
The remedies available include past and future economic and emotional distress damages as well as penalties. The extent of economic damages requires an individual analysis for each person. The following factors may be relevant:
- Value of your lost salary, benefits, bonus, and/or stock options
- How long it took you to find a substantially similar position
- Impact of the termination on your career growth
- Impact on your mental health and emotional state, which may also have physical manifestations
If you are terminated in your 50s and 60s, the time it will take you to find another job may be longer than for a person in his/her 30s and 40s resulting in greater economic loss and likely additional emotional distress from being among the long term unemployed.
The pain and suffering from the betrayal, humiliation, and hurt feelings from wrongful termination can reach extreme levels and may require treatment for years.
Types of Wrongful Termination Compensations:
Our attorneys will keep you informed every step of the way as we advance your rights. Although each case is unique, we have successfully obtained the following types of compensation and relief for wrongful termination including:
- Past and Projected/Future Economic Losses
- Emotional Distress Damages
- Exemplary Damages (intended to penalize the Corporation to deter future misconduct)
- Unreimbursed Business Expenses
- Stock Options
- Unpaid wages, commissions, and other penalties for wage and hour violations
- Positive and/or neutral letter of recommendation
- Agreement prohibiting employer from defaming your reputation
- Job placement coaching
- A stipend for additional training
- Severance pay
3-Steps to a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
The main question in a wrongful termination case is what motivated your termination? Your employer is unlikely to admit to unlawful conduct. Do not be discouraged just because you do not have a smoking gun admission. Circumstantial evidence may be just as persuasive. In many cases, the following 3-step process applies:
- The ball is in your court to identify the illegal reason for termination, e.g., “I was fired because I requested CFRA/FMLA leave.” Your attorney will help you evaluate your case to determine applicable bad faith motivations.
- The ball then shifts to the employer to present a legitimate business reason for termination, e.g., “No, she was fired because of poor performance.”
- You then get a chance to prove that the employer’s stated reasons are a pretext/cover for discriminatory and/or retaliatory motives or offer other evidence of unlawful motives.
How to Win a Wrongful Termination Case?
Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers, such as Employee Rights Attorney Group, can help you prove your case. The type of circumstantial evidence that points to illegal/unlawful conduct varies in each situation. Among other factors, Courts pay attention to:
- Timing/proximity between the whistleblowing and the termination or other adverse actions.
- Are the employer’s stated reasons for termination not credible? Is the employer lying?
- Are there other individuals (“me too” victims) who were discriminated or retaliated against in a similar way?
- Are you treated worse than your co-workers who are of a different race, gender, etc.?
- Has your employer responded to any complaints of unlawful conduct with appropriate remedial action or did more retaliation follow?
- Is there a financial motive to continue with illegal practices? For example, employer prioritizes profit over safety.
- Are there other circumstances, texts, e-mails, documents, or witnesses to support your story? Documenting violations is incredibly important.
As attorneys that solely focus on employee rights; we know wrongful termination and have helped others that have lost jobs unfairly win their cases.
After a Wrongful Termination, What Should I Do?
Reach out for help and support. Consider speaking with your former co-workers and/or former employees who were similarly mistreated. While ongoing mental health treatment may be cost prohibitive, your primary care physician may be able to help you manage your symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Apply for Unemployment Insurance/EDD Benefits.
Stages of grief include anger. Stay away from social media and consider cleaning up and/or being mindful of your online presence. If you are intent on bringing a claim, what you post will be scrutinized.
Speak to a wrongful termination attorney. We can provide you with solutions tailored to your situation and discuss a way forward.
Why Trust Employee Rights Attorney Group?
Most, if not all, the people that we had the privilege of helping have been professionals who have never pursued a lawsuit or ever thought they would ever be in such a situation. Our goal is to provide personalized representation and to remain responsive and supportive throughout the process.
Don't Pay Fees Unless You Win
Although our wrongful termination attorneys do not work on a pro bono basis, we will not require or demand payment for services unless we win and obtain a favorable outcome for you. This means that we accept cases on a contingency basis.