What Steps Should I Take If I Believe I Have Been Wrongfully Terminated In California?
First, you should get all your property back from your employer before too much time elapses. Second, you should try to establish what the employer is saying are the grounds for termination. Then, try to determine what the employer intends to tell any future reference, or person inquiring about you, concerning the reason you left and what your job was. In terms of evaluating whether to bring a lawsuit or otherwise seek some sort of compensation, you probably don’t know enough as a layperson to evaluate that carefully and accurately. For that reason, I would urge you to consult with experienced employment counsel such as myself to learn about what your rights are, and to put forward the facts that could potentially support a claim for damages.
Can I Be Terminated For Any Reason Even If I Have A Contract With My Employer In California?
It depends on what the contract says. Oftentimes, employees get what are thought of as offer letters, which say you will come to work here in this position, these will be your job responsibilities, here are the hours for work, and these are the items we will supply you with. That offer letter will not necessarily specify what the grounds are for termination. So, the mere fact that there is something in writing doesn’t necessarily change the general at-will aspect of the employee’s employment.
But again, even though we are dealing with at-will employment, the employer still can’t fire someone for illegal reasons. They can’t fire them if the employee claims, for example, that they have been sexually harassed. They can literally fire them, but doing so would be illegal and would give rise to a lawsuit, and potential damages for the employee who brings a lawsuit.
What Damages Could I Be Entitled To In A Wrongful Termination Case In California?
The damages depend on what kind of wrongful termination. If the termination is based on—or the employee makes a claim that it’s based on—discrimination, the recoverable damages would include past lost wages, future lost wages, any damage to the employee’s ability to earn, and potential damages for losses in regards to benefits like retirement accounts. These are what we call the economic damages.
A second category would be what we call non-economic damages, which include emotional distress, mental distress, humiliation, upset, anger, and short-term or long-term psychological effects related to the wrongful discrimination or termination.
Beyond economic and non-economic damages, there could be a potential for punitive damages, depending on who the employer is, who did the termination, and whether the person involved in the termination had a certain kind of authority that falls under the category of managing agent—that’s a long discussion.
Additionally, the employee can recover the costs of bringing a lawsuit and potentially attorney’s fees for the successful employee’s attorney. . Other types of cases will not give rise to damages; for example, punitive damages cannot be recovered against a city or county that is an employer. So, there are various exceptions, but that gives a general overview of a discrimination case.
For more information on Wrongful Termination in California, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (310) 477-7767 today.
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