Laws that Prohibits Wrongful Termination

There are different types of federal and California laws that prohibit wrongful termination. This article identifies and discusses the different types of wrongful termination laws.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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Statutorily Prohibited Terminations

Wrongful termination laws in California prohibit an employer from terminating employees for reasons established in the California Constitution and statutes. For example, California’s Constitution, Article I, Section 8, provides that no person may be subject to discrimination in employment because of sex, race, creed, color, or ethnic origin. This shield which is based not only in constitutional but also in statutory law is fundamental to defending workplace equality as well as recognizing employees rights.

If you’re an employer and has been sued for wrongful termination, please contact our California employment defense attorney for a free consultation.

California FEHA and & Common Law Tort Claims

Under common law through court and judicial interpretation, common law tort claims are complemented by California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) under California Government Code Section 12940(a) in case of wrongful termination. This combination of the remedies created by statutory law with those created by the common law comes together in a comprehensive form to provide a framework, which can be used to respond to situations of wrongful discrimination at the workplace. It lets employees know that they have more than one means of seeking legal redress, and that as such, workplace discrimination is a serious offense.

Limitations and Comparisons

The wrongful termination laws recognize some limitations particularly with regard to employers that are exempt from the provisions of FEHA. Although FEHA gives wider protections, it is not applicable in most cases such as the ones entailing employees who are exempted from its provisions. However, there are still categorical prohibitions on terminations that contravene both FEHA and constitutional provisions, such as those based in race- or gender-based discrimination, reflecting the denial of any license for discrimination.

Religious Employers and the First Amendment

The First Amendment has a great impact in cases involving wrongful termination related to religious employers. Even though religious organizations are mostly not included under FEHA , they can also be sued for wrongful termination if they breach some kind of public policy. However, their First Amendment liberties frequently serve as the shield against such claims to make it rather complicated between religious liberty and efficacy rights.

Protection invocations under False Claims Act and Labor Code

The powers given to the whistleblowers shall include protections against wrongful termination, which will occur to employees falling under the False Clams Act and multiple provisions in the California Labor Code. For instance, California Labor Code 230(a) and 230(b) protect workers from being terminated for performing civil responsibilities such as jury service or appearance in court. These laws ensure that the sate is dedicated to protecting its employees from wrongful termination if they follow their legal duties or civic responsibilities.

Federal Statutes and Anti-Discrimination

California’s wrongful termination laws are strengthened by the presence of federal statutes Pay Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-2(a)(1) et seq., such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), which preempts California’s remainder-of-workweek provision applicable to affirmative defenses to complaints arising under California’s Lawful Employment Act. 43 U.S.C. Finally, these federal laws are in harmony with California’s statutes, such as FEHA, so all legislation helps to prevent discrimination and other illegal cases of the discharge. Such a complementarity between state and federal law widens employee protection against discrimination and creates an atmosphere of fair play.

Terminations for Exercising Rights

Employees discharged for enforcing their legal rights are similarly protected under wrongful termination laws. For instance, California Labor Code sections 6400 to 8339 assure employees dismissed for their sound stand on work safety. Such safeguards guarantee that employees have the ability to exercise their rights without concern of being unfairly fired, fostering a fair and equitable working environment.

Terminations for Refusing Unlawful Conduct

Under California law, employees are protected from being wrongfully terminated for refusing to engage in illegal activities. This characteristic of the law is an element that embodies employment ethics and legal requirements, and which guarantees individuals are not compelled to execute unlawful acts and at the same time preserves integrity within the workplace.

Whistle-blowing and Termination

The protections against wrongful terminations also apply to the scenario where employees become whistleblowers by reporting the illegal activities of their employers. In this regards, laws like California Labor Code Section 1102.5 protect employees from annotated dismissal as a matter of retaliation and encourage reporting on wrongdoing without the fear that they will lose their jobs. Moreover, this legal protection is essential to create an environment in which employees can act in the public interest without being at risk of dismissal.

Limitations and Ambiguities

Lastly, wrong termination laws in California are not comprehensive in some respects because they have certain ambiguous provisions that make them incomplete such as the legal interpretation of no signing a noncompetition agreement. Its ambiguity actually reflects the dynamic work of employment laws, which only highlight the importance and constant necessity of legal analysis and interpretation in the workplace.

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