You’ve been a dutiful employee. You’ve worked hard, given your all, but still, your employer decided to let you go. Their reason for doing so doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, and it has you wondering if you are the victim of wrongful termination.
You have every right to question your firing. If anything about it turned out to be illegal, you have every right to hold your former employer accountable for their actions. Wrongful termination can be difficult to spot and prove, but there are usually signs that suggest it was a factor in a person’s firing.
Wrongful termination is…
Wrongful termination generally falls under one of three categories. These categories include:
- Firing for illegal reasons
- Termination that violates company policy
- Firing in violation of employee contract
A couple of examples of firing for illegal reasons include discrimination-based termination and retaliation. As far as violating company policy goes, you must prove the company didn’t follow the approved process for firing. If a company fires a contracted employee, the employer may be in breach of contract. Outside of these three categories, if you left your job due to an unbearable work environment, you may claim wrongful termination for constructive discharge.
What about at-will employees?
Most employers hire workers as at-will employees. This means that a business can let its employees go without reason. These employees can still file wrongful termination claims if they have reason to believe their firing was illegal in some way.
What can you do?
If your employer lets you go and you feel it was a wrongful termination, there are a few things you can do to remedy the situation. You may be able to appeal the decision directly with your employer. If you believe discrimination was a factor, you may file claims with the Department of Labor and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Finally, you may file legal claims against your employer in a California civil court.
Sometimes, the threat of litigation is enough for a business owner to settle with a former employee, and sometimes, these cases do end up going to trial. Either way, if your case is successful, you may be granted your job back, if that is something you desire, and you may receive some level of monetary compensation for your losses. How much you receive in the end depends on the specific details of your case.