June 8, 2021
Wrongful termination is a term used when someone has been fired for an illegal reason. Illegal reasons include any discriminatory practice (based on race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, or disability), retaliation for reporting safety concerns or an illegal activity in which your employer is involved.
California is an employment-at-will state. This means that an employee can resign at any time, but it also means that the employer can fire an employee at any time without cause or justification. However, even in at-will states, an employer cannot fire an employee for an illegal reason.
Harassment and hostile work environments
If you are the victim of intimidation and harassment and your employer ignores the situation, your workplace may be considered a hostile workplace. This type of harassment occurs when unwanted comments based on a person’s protected characteristics interfere with an employee’s job performance. Hostile work environments can also include unwanted touches, physical or verbal threats, and the display of inappropriate photos or content. Protected features include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual orientation
If you were harassed at work and you believe you were fired for complaining or reporting conditions in your workplace, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit. Sometimes, even if you quit because you couldn’t take it anymore, you may have a case.
Were you fired because you claimed workers’ compensation benefits?
If you are injured on the job, you are most likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If you are fired after getting injured at work for making a claim, you may have a case for a wrongful termination lawsuit. You also can’t be fired for testifying on behalf of a colleague in their workers’ compensation case.
This happens when an employer treats a disabled employee unfavorably because of their disability. There are multiple laws in place that protect against disability discrimination at the state and federal level. If your employer made an employment decision ( like firing you) based on a disability, he could be held liable in a wrongful termination lawsuit.