I was recently fired from my job without any warnings or negative performance reviews. Was I wrongfully terminated?
Being fired out of the blue or even after getting positive performance reviews does not necessarily constitute wrongful termination. Employers are not required to give at-will employees any advance notice or warnings before firing them. That said, an employee with a good record, fired out of the blue or for a suspicious reason, may wish to consider whether the employer had an illegal, hidden motive for the termination.
Wrongful termination occurs under specific circumstances when an employer terminates an employee for an illegal reason. The employer may have acted illegally if an employee is fired because of discrimination, harassment, breach of employment contract or other reasons that violate federal or California employment laws.
In order to have a wrongful termination claim, the employee must prove the employer’s differential treatment of them was motivated by their membership of a legally protected class, including sex, race, color, age, national origin, disability, serious medical condition, pregnancy, family status, religion or sexual orientation.
An employee may also have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit if they were fired or retaliated against for complaining about an employer’s illegal activities, refusing to engage in criminal acts or filing a discrimination or harassment claim. For example, an employee may have acted as a whistleblower when reporting wage or safety violations in the workplace.
If an employee is fired due to the above circumstances, and not for a legitimate reason, they may be entitled to seek damages in court by filing wrongful termination claim.
McCormack & Erlich is a San Francisco law firm serving all of Northern California and specializing in the field of employment law. We have extensive expertise in helping people who have been wrongfully terminated and retaliated against recover their damages.