At-Will Employment and Wrongful Termination
California’s Labor Code specifies that an employment relationship with no specified duration is presumed to be employment “at-will.” This means, at least in theory, that the employer or employee may terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause. There are exceptions to the at-will rule created by statute, the courts or public policy.
Statutory exceptions include terminating an employee for reasons based on the discrimination laws discussed above; for participating in union activity; for refusing to carry out an activity that violates the law.
An employer can potentially reduce exposure to wrongful discharge liability by emphasizing using an at-will language in all written and verbal communications with employees. This extends from job announcements and interviews to employee handbooks, training seminars and employee reviews. It is also advised to avoid references in all situations that indicate job security or permanence.
Have you recently lost your job? If so, you might be wondering whether you have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit against your former employer. In California, as in other states, employees work at will. This means an employee can generally be fired at any time and for any reason, or for no reason at all.
But there are some exceptions to the at-will rule. If your California employer fires you for discriminatory reasons, in violation of an employment contract, or in retaliation for exercising your rights, for example, you may have a legal claim against your employer for wrongful termination.
Every state’s laws on wrongful termination are different. This article covers some of the legal grounds you might have for suing your employer in California for wrongful termination. But it’s not a comprehensive list of California employment rights, which can change as courts issue new rulings and legislators pass or modify laws. To find out whether you have a legal claim for wrongful termination, schedule a FREE Consultation with George Moschopoulos, an experienced Southern California and Orange County employment lawyer.