WRONGFUL TERMINATION FAQ
GET ANSWERS TO YOUR WRONGFUL TERMINATION QUESTIONS
California is an “at-will” employment state. That means that either the employee or the employer can terminate the employment. However, there are some rules that employers have to follow. Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about California wrongful termination.
I FOLLOWED THE EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK BUT WAS FIRED ANYWAY; DO I HAVE A CASE?
In most situations, an employee handbook will be considered a legally binding document between your employer and you. The employee handbook is most often considered an extension of the employee contract. In many cases, the employee handbook will be used as evidence. This means that if there are promises or guarantees in the employee handbook that have not been fulfilled, this may be grounds for a case.
If the employer changed the handbook but did not notify you or other employees of the change, then you are not bound by those changes. If your issue involves not being paid the promised wages or overtime, and you can not resolve it with your employer, speak to an employment law attorney.
I WAS FIRED FOR COMPLAINING ABOUT SEXUAL JOKES AND BEING TOLD ‘YOU LOOK SEXY.’ IS THIS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Sexual harassment can be difficult to determine and even harder to prove. However, this does not mean that you should not take action. ANY unwanted sexual advances, behavior or requests can constitute on-the-job sexual harassment. The first thing to do is to let the person know their behavior or comments are unwelcome. Tell them in no uncertain terms to stop. Keep track of what was said and done, the time and date and any witnesses. Inform your supervisor of what is going on. Review the employee handbook for the steps to take and who to tell in instances of sexual harassment. If you’ve taken these steps and been fired, demoted or ignored, speak with a California employment law attorney. If you were fired after complaining about harassment, it is always in your best interest to know and understand your rights and recourse.
I AM PLANNING TO ADOPT BUT WORRIED IT WILL AFFECT MY OUTPUT AND THAT I MIGHT GET FIRED. ARE THERE PROTECTIONS FOR CALIFORNIA PARENTS WHO ADOPT?
California employers with more than 50 employees need to give their employees 12 weeks of leave in a 12-month period as stated in the California Family Rights Act. You should get this time off for adopting a child and for several other health matters that affect your family. If your employer employs 20 to 49 employees, then your 12-week time off for adoption should be covered under the New Parent Leave Act. If you experience a demotion or are terminated after you adopt a child, speak with a California employment law attorney.
CAN MY EMPLOYER REQUIRE A DRUG TEST FROM ME? CAN I BE FIRED IF I REFUSE?
You have a right to privacy. This does not mean on-the-job drug testing is illegal. Some jobs require that the worker be clear-headed and not influenced by drugs that could affect judgment. Jobs in transportation and aviation and contractors with NASA and the Department of Defense are some of these jobs. In the California courts, these instances of invasion of privacy and on-the-job drug testing are judged on a case-by-case basis. The courts typically take into consideration the employer’s reasons for testing and the amount of intrusion on the employee. If you were fired for refusing a drug test at your place of employment, an employment law attorney can certainly provide guidance.