Wrongful Termination California Lawyer

If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job in California, contact employment attorney Brad Nakase for a free consultation about your rights to sue. Our employment attorney protects employees from wrongful termination throughout California including Los Angeles, San Jose, and San Diego.

By Brad Nakase, Attorney

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How do I defend myself against wrongful termination?

If you think think you were wrongfully terminated from work, consult with an employment attorney that specializes in wrongful termination. A wrongful termination lawyer in California will analyze the facts and inform you of your rights. Likewise, you may also file a wrongful termination complaint with the California Labor Commissioner.

No one enjoys getting fired. However, it is even worse to get fired on unlawful grounds. An individual has the right to defend his or her rights.

Most employees in California probably work at a job that is considered to be at-will employment. With this kind of work, an employer may fire an employee for whatever reason they feel like, or even for no reason at all. That said, they cannot fire an individual for a wrong or unlawful reason. To determine what kind of employee he or she is classified as, an individual should review his or her employee handbook. In any case, an employee is protected from an employer’s wrongful termination. Some employers may inform employees why they are being terminated, but they are not required to. If the employer has a reason, such as an individual’s poor job performance, then this is considered firing an at-will employee “for cause.” However, if the reason given breaks the law or an employee contract, then an individual cannot be legally fired. Reasons of an illegal nature include the following:

  • Retaliation against a complaint
  • A violation of anti-discrimination laws
  • Firing an employee as a way to sexually harass an individual
  • A violation of labor laws

If an individual is not sure whether he or she has a valid case, they should contact an experienced wrongful termination lawyer.

What Are Wrongful Termination Examples?

There are certain things that California employees are protected against. Under the law, firing an employee for the following items is wrongful termination:

  • Firing an employee because of their race
  • Firing an employee because they reacted negatively or didn’t consent to sexual advances
  • Firing an employee for complaining about safety issues or criminal activities
  • Firing an employee because they are pregnant or have missed work because of pregnancy
  • Firing an employee for any reason that violates collective bargaining laws or labor laws

If you have been fired for any of the above reasons, then contact the wrongful termination lawyers at Nakase Law Firm. Our lawyers for wrongful termination can help you claim lost benefits, back pay, emotional damages, and lost opportunities. Wrongful termination is very distressing, and you deserve compensation for your employer’s illegal activity.

Our wrongful termination lawyers have decades of experience in California employment law, so we have seen the games employers play. We can spot excuses a mile away and will passionately disprove any attacks on your character that your employer hides behind. Many employers will claim that you were late, had poor performance, or were insubordinate. We look at your employer’s track record and see why they fired employees and if they had any previous wrongful termination lawsuits against them. We will also use your employment history, both at this employer and previous employers, to show that the reasons they are giving are unlikely or one-off situations for which you were not disciplined. These arguments will be the basis upon which we build a strong case against your employer. The stronger the case, the higher the compensation you will be able to receive.

Collecting Evidence of a Wrongful Termination

When an individual hires a California wrongful termination lawyer, the employment lawyer will study the evidence backing up the claim. A lawyer requires documents from the individual’s tenure, including their employee file. This could provide a reason why the employee was wrongfully terminated. A wrongful termination lawyer will proceed to gather information that may prove the employee was illegally fired. This will include looking at performance reviews. The lawyer will want to examine whether the employee was treated any differently than others. A red flag, for example, would be if the employee was fired for poor performance but received excellent reviews during their employment.

Fired Without Notice – Is There a Wrongful Termination Case?

Sometimes employees are fired without receiving any notice. They are simply called into a manager’s office and told they are being terminated. According to California law, employees are considered at-will, which means that they may be fired for any reason that is not unlawful. Also, there is no notice requirement. An employee may technically quit and simply not show up the next day, which means an employer may do the same. In essence, they could terminate an employee with the understanding that they will not engage with them again. Under California law, there is no notice requirement.

An employee should know that if he or she is fired, they are entitled to their wages up until the point of termination. If an employer fires an employee, he or she should be prepared to offer a check with all the employees’ wages, including that day’s pay. If the employer fails to do this, then an employee may be entitled to Labor Code Section 203 penalties. This is a waiting time penalty. It is also important to know that if an employee gets fired out of nowhere, he or she should think carefully about why they may have been fired. If, for example, an employee recently told his or her employer about their plan to go on medical leave or complained about unlawful or unsafe behavior, there could be a reason the termination breaks California law. In this case, the individual should contact an attorney.

Can an Employee Be Fired If They Have a Contract with an Employer?

While most California employees do not have contracts, some employees do have contracts for set periods of time (one year, or for a specific job). When it comes to terminating such a contract, the issue comes down to reading the contract and determining whether or not the employer could have an employee stop working. Also at issue is whether or not this would have an effect on the issue of pay; does the employer pay the employee out for the rest of contract or for a specified period of time? The contract will sometimes have provisions that state if an employer terminates an employee for just cause, they can cancel the contract. In California, whether or not an employee had a contract or is at-will, he or she is protected under state law from wrongful termination and unlawful discrimination and harassment.

If an employee is either an at-will employee or has a contract, then it is critical he or she understand their rights. At the end of their employment, a supervisor or HR will want the employee to sign an additional agreement called a separation agreement. In this document, they offer the employee money. Sometimes the money is two-weeks’ worth or a month’s worth, and occasionally more. An employee should understand that if the employer is doing this, then they want the employee do release their claims for wrongful termination in exchange for the money. Indeed, if an employee signs this agreement and takes the money, he or she could be releasing the company for any claims of wrongful termination in California. These claims may include wage claims and wrongful termination. If an employee is presented with such an agreement at the conclusion of their employment, then it is important that he or she is conscious of what rights they have and which rights they may be forfeiting. If an employee signs a contract at the beginning of their job, they should know that this does not keep him or her from searching for legal remedies outside the bounds of that contract.

How to Choose the Right Attorney for a Wrongful Termination Case

Not every wrongful termination case ends in a verdict. In fact, many cases result in a settlement. If an individual is considering hiring a wrongful termination lawyer in California to protect their interests, they should consider this the following factors. Does the lawyer focus on California labor and employment law? Does the lawyer work focuses wrongful termination, or retaliation and labor law issues. The next issue to consider is whether the wrongful termination lawyer has the necessary resources in addition to the expertise. An individual will want a wrongful termination lawyer in California that can take them the whole way. Specifically, an individual will want to determine whether the attorney is a trial attorney. Many people make the mistake of hiring a lawyer and preparing to go to court only to discover that their attorney has no trial experience. Therefore, it is important to find out about a lawyer’s expertise and experience from the get go.

What Can I do If I am Wrongfully Terminated?

It is important to understand that sometimes terminations are simply unfair, but not unjust. An individual may have the misfortune of working for a supervisor who is unkind and irrational, who may terminate them in a particularly harsh manner. However wrongful a termination may feel, it is not necessarily unlawful.

A wrongful termination lawyer can help identify which terminations actually broke California or federal law. If an attorney can successfully identify a statute that was broken, then he or she can describe why the termination was wrongful and a violation of public policy. This claim will be brought with other claims under California Labor Code. These include the Fair Employment Housing Act, if the employee was terminated as a result of a protected class, or if they were subject to harassment based on race, gender, or disability. Not every firing in California will allow an individual to file a lawsuit. In fact, not even every wrongful termination will allow an individual to file a lawsuit. It is therefore important to find an California wrongful termination lawyer who can determine whether or not a termination was unlawful.

Can Someone Sue Their Employer Over Wrongful Termination?

In California, there are a lot of statutes that protect an employee from wrongful termination. These laws, for example, prevent an employer from retaliating against an employee by firing an employee. An employee will need to consult with a wrongful termination lawyer in California to determine whether something is wrong or unfair, or whether it was unlawful.

Should I Sue for Wrongful Termination?

Should you decide to sue for a valid wrongful termination, you may get between $20,000 to $500,000 – depending on the facts. When you sue for wrongful termination, you can earn money damages for missed wages, benefits, and emotional distress. Learn more by booking a free consultation with our attorneys. Our priority is to ensure our clients are not financially penalized by the actions of their employers. We will push for maximum compensation and are experts in calculating and arguing non-economical damages such as emotional distress.

Can Someone Collect Unemployment Benefits If They Were Fired?

In California, if someone is terminated from their employment, they are not necessarily guaranteed unemployment benefits. Still, if an employee has been fired, especially if they feel it was an unlawful termination, it is important for them to apply for unemployment. It would also be helpful to hire a wrongful termination lawyer in Califorina, who can help explain to the unemployment board why the employee is eligible for benefits.

Should Someone Look for a New Job During a Wrongful Termination Case?

It is common for people who have been wrongfully terminated to wonder what comes next. The most important thing is to continue to take care of oneself and one’s family. Therefore, it would be wise to file for unemployment. The next step would be looking for new work if possible. If an employer has fired an individual while they were out on medical leave, then it is best to continue taking that leave. The most important thing in this case is to get healthy. The law will expect an individual to find similar work. What is similar? This means the new job should be comparable to the old one in terms of wage, benefits, and location. To the degree that the new job does not offer the same benefits or wages as the previous one, a California wrongful termination lawyer will try to make up the difference in court.

What Damages Are Available in a Wrongful Termination Case?

One form of damages available to an individual who was wrongfully terminated is emotional distress damages. Perhaps the firing had an impact on the employee’s daily life: loss of sleep, anger, frustration, self-doubt. A jury can award monetary amounts for this suffering. The emotional impact that a termination has on an individual is known as emotional distress.

Another form of damages is known as back wages and front wages. When an individual makes less at a new job than they made at the job from which they were terminated, a jury may decide to make up the difference the individual is entitled to. Or, perhaps, the employee used to have health insurance or vacation. These losses may be compensated, as will the time an individual spends to find a new job.

Sometimes, depending on the employer and the situation, a wrongful termination lawyer in California will seek punitive damages to punish the former employer. If the lawsuit is successful, then there will often be a motion for attorney’s fees and costs to be covered by the former employer.

Have a quick question? We answered nearly 2000 FAQs.

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