If you’ve recently been fired or laid off, you may be wondering whether you have any legal claims against your employer. Many fired employees don’t. Because employees are generally presumed to work “at will,” they can quit at any time, and they can be fired at any time, for any reason that isn’t illegal. So, for example, an employee who is fired for poor performance, attendance problems, or misconduct — or even for just being a poor fit or “not working out” — generally won’t have any recourse against their employers. These do not fall into the category of wrongful termination.
What Is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination is a catchall category that refers to any illegal reason for firing an employee, such as:
- Discrimination. It’s illegal to fire an employee because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, disability, genetic information, or age (if the employee is at least 40 years old); state and local laws often protect additional characteristics, such as marital status, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
- Retaliation. An employer may not fire an employee because the employee complained of illegal behavior, such as harassment, discrimination, workplace safety concerns, wage and hour violations, and so on.
- Violation of public policy. In California, it’s illegal to fire an employee for reasons that most people would find morally wrong, such as whistleblowing.
Contact an Employment Attorney Today!
If the circumstances of your firing suggest that it might have been illegal, consult an employment attorney at Victory Law Group, LLP right NOW. One of our attorneys can review the facts and assess whether you have any potential legal claims.