Wrongful termination may occur when an employee is terminated for illegal reasons, which usually implies that the termination violates a law or regulation as established in a statute, policy or court ruling. An employee can be wrongfully terminated for a variety of reasons.
Statutory discrimination –
Employers cannot terminate employees based on a protected category of characteristics, including race, religion, marital status, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, medical condition, or sexual orientation, among others.
Protected activities –
As employees have the legal right to participate in certain protected activities, they also have the right to be protected against adverse employment repercussions for exercising their right to participate in such activities. Employers cannot terminate employees on the basis of pregnancy, family, medical or military leave. Other protected activities can include voting and serving jury duty.
Employer retaliation –
Employees cannot be fired for opposing certain conduct or for employer retaliation
. Common examples that constitute a wrongful termination can include such grounds as opposing unlawful activity, refusing to enter an unsafe workplace, and protesting against discrimination, harassment, wage violations and other various employer violations.
Other types of wrongful termination
– Sometimes employees have an “implied contract” with their employer, which prevents their employer from firing them without cause. The court may determine whether such a condition existed by examining promises of job security, your employee handbook of policies and job performance evaluations. Often implied contracts are informal, so it is helpful to bring an experienced employment law attorney onto your case to ensure your rights remain protected.
California courts also recognize a claim called “breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.” An example of this could include if you were promised a commission so many days after making a sale but were terminated before the commission was due to be paid. Terminating the relationship to avoid paying the commission would violate good faith and fair dealing.