Long Beach Wrongful Termination Lawyers
Employers have a lot of leeway in the state of California when it comes to terminating employees. They do not have to have a specific reason for a termination as, under state law, employment is considered “at will.” However, there are exceptions to the law in which terminating an employee can be deemed illegal and for which the employee can seek compensation if they are fired by an employer.
Exceptions to State Employment Law
An employee may want to seek the services of a Long Beach wrongful termination lawyer if he or she feels they were wrongly terminated from their employment. Under California employment law, the exceptions for terminating an employee “at will” are for participating in a union activity, for refusing to do any activity that is in violation of a law, and for reasons based on discrimination laws.
In addition, along with the above exceptions, you may have a case for wrongful termination if you were fired after you participated in an investigation regarding sexual harassment, you reported your employer for illegal or improper activity, if you applied for worker’s compensation or were on leave under the Family Medical Leave Act. A termination under these circumstances would be considered a retaliation and is illegal under the law.
A case for wrongful termination may also be made if there are documented policies for how and why terminations are to happen within a company. If an employee has an employment contract, there is usually a section within the contract that addresses why he or she may be dismissed by the employer. If the employee is dismissed for other reasons not outlined in the contract, except for committing a crime, then he or she may have a case for wrongful termination.
Most companies develop employee handbooks that detail their policies, including their policies regarding termination. The handbook usually spells out why an employee can be terminated and they may also describe how a termination is to take place. The handbook will also include information about the rights of the employees. If an employee is dismissed and the termination policies were not followed as written, he or she should seek advice from a Long Beach wrongful termination lawyer to see if they have a case.
In most cases, unions will enter into collective bargaining agreements with the companies with which their members work. In the agreement, there will be information about why employees can be terminated and how the termination is to take place. If an employee is terminated and the company does not follow the procedures as outlined in the agreement, then they may have cause for action against their former employer.
Leave of Absence Protection
A former employee may also have a case for wrongful termination if they were fired while on a leave of absence. Along with FMLA, there are additional leaves of absence that are considered protected, so if an employee is on one of them, they cannot be terminated. In California, an employee cannot be terminated if they were injured on the job and women can take up to a four-month leave if they were considered disabled due to a pregnancy or childbirth.
The other types of protected leaves of absence include:
Serving on a jury.
Going to court as a witness.
Voting in a statewide election.
A serious health condition of close family members.
Due to military service.
There is a two-hour restriction on a leave of absence for voting and the two hours must be taken before or after the employee’s shift.
Contacting an Attorney
If you feel you have been wrongfully terminated, you should contact a Long Beach wrongful termination lawyer at our firm. Your allegations will be investigated and we will recommend a course of action to you, including filing a lawsuit if warranted. You may be able to receive compensation in the form of back pay, emotional distress, and attorney and court costs if your suit is successful.