California Wrongful Termination Attorneys
If you were fired from your job and feel that it was unjustified, you should contact a wrongful termination lawyer from The Offices of Alex G. Tovarian to determine if your termination was illegal.
At-Will or Contract Employees
Many employees have jobs with no definite duration. Most workers in these jobs are called “at-will” employees, meaning that they can be fired for no reason and at any time, so long as the termination is not for a discriminatory or unlawful reason.
Other employees are hired pursuant to an employment contract, or contract attorneys, which may state conditions under which they may be fired including engaging in unlawful conduct, poor work performance or for inappropriate conduct.
Exceptions to Termination Without Cause
You may have been hired without a contract or were told that you were an “at-will” employee and that you could be terminated at any time. Still, there are exceptions if the employer has modified your status by express or implied implication:
If your employer has issued a manual or provided you with guidelines that imply that you may not be dismissed unless you violate these guidelines, then you could effectively argue that you were not fired pursuant to the employer’s own procedures.
In some cases, your employer may have verbally assured you that you will not be fired. In this case, the employer must demonstrate that you were fired for “good cause. Typically, you will need the testimony of other employees to support your argument.
There are instances when firing an employee for no reason is contrary to public policy. Forcing a worker to violate the law or for performing an act that public policy would encourage could be illegal. Someone who is fired in retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment or for bringing an illegal act by another employee to management’s attention may have a case for wrongful termination.
What is “Good Cause”
If the employee’s employment status is contractual or is “at-will” but has been modified by certain actions by the employer, then an employee may only be dismissed based on “good cause.”
Under California law, “good cause” has been defined by the courts as “fair and honest reasons, regulated by good faith on the part of the employer, that are not trivial, arbitrary, or capricious, unrelated to business needs or goals, or pretextual. A reasoned conclusion, in short, supported by substantial evidence gathered through an adequate investigation that includes notice of the claimed misconduct and a chance for the employee, to respond.” Cotran v. Rollins Hall Int’l, Inc. (1998) 17 Cal. 4th 93, 108.
In other words, the employer must have documented the transgression, poor performance or failure to abide by or live up to the company’s goals or needs and have given the employee a forum or opportunity to dispute the dismissal.
Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)
The California Fair Employment and Housing Act outlaws any employment action that is discriminatory. A firing based on prohibited discrimination refers to race, color, religion, national origin, physical disability or mental condition marital status, age, pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions and sexual orientation.
Contact The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian
Our attorneys understand the rights of workers and work to protect them from exploitation. Call The Law Offices of Alex G. Tovarian today for a free, confidential consultation. We have the knowledge, experience and resources to handle wrongful termination cases.