Unexpectedly losing a job can be an upsetting experience at any point in time. Being let go from a job during a pandemic can feel devastating, financially and as well as emotionally. In Los Angeles, where the cost of living seems to increase yearly, a job represents more than a bi-monthly paycheck; it is also how many workers obtain health insurance and other important benefits.
The stress and frustration of losing a job are exasperated when the firing was unwarranted or the employer’s decision was based on illegal reasons.
Wrongful Termination Claims Under the Fair Employment and Housing Act
California employees work “at will,” meaning that the employee can leave at any time without warning and the employer can dismiss an employee for any legitimate reason. Common reasons employees are wrongfully terminated are based on:
- Racial discrimination
- Sexual orientation discrimination
- Political affiliation
- Health conditions
- Sexual harassment
Under California Government Code 12940, California employers cannot fire, refuse to hire, or otherwise discriminate against a person based on their age, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or military or veteran status.
In many cases, we see that an employer or supervisor engages in one of the illegal behaviors above, then retaliates against the employee for exercising his or her rights and reporting the unlawful behavior by terminating the employee. If an employer terminates an employee for discriminatory or unlawful reasons, the employee may pursue a wrongful termination claim against their former employer.
Remedies in a Wrongful Termination Claim
If you have been wrongfully terminated, know that California law is on your side. We understand that you may feel reluctant to pursue a claim against your employer because you have no interest in working for a company that would engage in illegal conduct. However, the remedies for wrongful termination extend far beyond getting your job back (or not getting it back, if you prefer).
An experienced wrongful termination attorney will fight on your behalf to help you recover compensation for any lost wages and benefits, as well as the emotional distress and loss of professional reputation caused by your employer’s conduct.
In addition, some employers may be liable for punitive damages, which are intended to punish a defendant for especially egregious conduct. Punitive damages are available when an employer’s conduct rises to the level of “oppression, fraud, or malice.” This requires a fact-specific inquiry into the events that led to the termination.
To discuss your potential wrongful termination case and whether you could recover financial compensation for being fired from your job, contact the employment lawyers at LOEAB Law today.