You worked hard to get where you are in your career. You deserve to be treated fairly under the law.
Being fired can come as a shock. It can disrupt your life and sense of security. Your employer may give you a reason that seems unfair or vague ("it's not a good fit"), or may not give you any reason at all. But if your employer's real reason is illegal, such as firing you because of your race or gender or because you complained about illegal activity or discrimination, you may have a case for wrongful termination.
We deliver the best possible resolutions for employees.
Don’t face your employer alone
Proving that you were fired illegally is difficult. Your employer will attempt to hide their reasons for firing you, and they will have resources to defend themselves. For these reasons, it is important to seek an experienced employment attorney at McCormack & Erlich to determine whether you have a case.
When is a termination legally wrongful?
Wrongful termination occurs when your employer terminates you for a reason that is specifically prohibited by law.
It certainly seems "wrong" if you worked hard, did a great job, and your employer ended your employment without good cause. But not all such terminations are "wrongful" under the law. California employees without a union or employment contract are "at-will," meaning they can quit or be fired any time for almost any reason, or even no reason. However, state and federal laws protect all employees who have been terminated for specific illegal reasons.
Being fired for any of the following reasons is illegal
Breaching Contractual Agreements
in Illegal Activity
- Being fired on the basis of color, national origin, sex or gender (including transgenderism), religion, age, disability, marital or family status, pregnancy status, or sexual orientation.
- Having a serious medical condition, disability.
- Taking medical leave or requesting a reasonable accommodation for a disability.
- This includes complaining about or reporting discrimination or sexual harassment.
- Exercising your right under the Family and Medical Leave Act to take time off for parental leave or to bond with your newborn.
- Taking time off for medical leave or to care or a family member.
- Reporting illegal conduct by your company.
- Requesting to be paid for all hours worked, legally-guaranteed overtime or minimum wage, or requesting legally-required rest or meal breaks.
Breaching Contractual Agreements
- Being fired for reasons that violate the terms and conditions of a written or verbal contract with you or your union.
Nonparticipation in Illegal Activity
- Refusing to perform an illegal act on behalf of your employer.
The attorneys at McCormack & Erlich have over 20 years of experience helping employees get compensation for wrongful termination. We will evaluate your case, listen to your goals, and fight for the best resolution.
Afraid of Being Fired? 6 Things You Can Do To Protect Your Rights:
Typically a legal case for wrongful termination cannot be filed until you have actually been terminated. If you suspect your employer is about to fire you for illegal reasons, you should take steps to protect your rights, including:
Document, in writing (or email), the illegal activity in detail, and send it to your supervisor, human resources personnel, or compliance hotline. Keep a copy of everything for your records.
Obtain Relevant Records
Obtain copies, except where prohibited by law, of documents that support your claims. For instance, if you are complaining of unpaid wages, try to obtain timecards, paystubs, or other evidence.
Cooperate with any investigation of your complaints by your employer. Take notes about everything they tell you, and everything you tell them.
Be polite and professional, even if your employer is not, and especially when keeping your cool can be difficult.
Make note of witness names, and their contact information.
Stand Up for Your Rights
Do not be pressured to quit your job, or sign away your legal rights in exchange for a small severance payment.
The law protects you regardless of what kind of work you do, how much you earn, how long you work, or whether you are a regular or temporary employee. If you aren't sure whether you were fired for an illegal reason, call now for a free case assessment.
What should you do if you think you have been wrongfully terminated?
If you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated, you should speak with an experienced employment attorney at McCormack & Erlich right away. In some cases, you will need to take action quickly to protect your right to sue. It is also important to take the following steps to help you improve your position should you decide to take legal action against your employer for wrongful termination.
Stay calm. Never act on negative feelings against your employer.
Ask questions of your employer about the reasons for your termination.
Request information. Request a copy of your personnel file.
Gather evidence: performance evaluations, pay stubs and important emails or letters.
Follow procedures. Return all company-owned equipment.
Consult an attorney. Do not sign any severance package or other agreement. It will likely waive your right to legal action.
Wrongful termination due to retaliation
Our client was fired in retaliation for her complaints about the dishonest practices of her employer and her request for accommodation for her disability. As a single mother recovering from surgery, the termination left her without income and put her in a dire situation.
We recognized this client needed a resolution rather than a long trial. We sued for disability discrimination and retaliation and negotiated a substantial out-of-court settlement.
Call for free case evaluation
Under wrongful termination law in California, you may be able to receive lost wages, damages for pain and suffering, and punitive damages if the employer’s conduct was malicious or willful. With our extensive knowledge of the evolving field of employment law, our attorneys will investigate your case, examine your employment history, review the circumstances of your termination, and fight on your behalf for the compensation you deserve.