Oakland Wrongful Termination Lawyer

Employees in California have legal rights and responsibilities. It is illegal for employers to terminate California workers in violation of these rights. You must understand the laws regarding wrongful termination in order to protect yourself.

Getting fired from a job is always a troubling experience. However, wrongful termination is against the law. If you have been wrongfully terminated by your employer, you may be eligible to take legal action. 

The lawyers at Cutter Law are ready to hear your story and help you seek justice.

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    What is wrongful termination?

    Like in most states, employment in California is “at will.” Generally, both employers and employees may terminate their working relationship at any time and for any reason. However, state and federal laws protect employees from losing their jobs for certain reasons. 

    If your employer has fired you for a wrongful reason, you may be able to take legal action against them. A wrongful termination lawyer in Oakland can review the details of your case to give you sound legal advice.

    When Termination Is Considered Wrongful

    There are many types of wrongful termination cases. The most common situations involve illegal discrimination or retaliation.

    Termination Based on Discrimination

    In California, an employer cannot fire an employee based solely on the following grounds:

    • Age over 40
    • Race
    • Sex
    • Color
    • National origin
    • Religion
    • Disability
    • Sexual orientation
    • Gender identity
    • Marital status
    • Medical condition
    • Political affiliation
    • Military or veteran status

    Pregnancy is another protected class. Your employer cannot fire you for being pregnant or for planning to become pregnant. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against pregnant women under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.

    Termination as a Form of Retaliation

    Retaliation can take many forms when it comes to the workplace. The following encompasses some of the most common types of termination based on retaliation.

    Retaliation for Reporting Sexual Harassment

    Experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, whether in the form of words or actions, can make work an extremely uncomfortable place. Workplace sexual harassment is commonplace, but it is strictly against the law.

    Employers must make the workplace safe for everyone, so they must address all instances of sexual harassment. If an employer learns that sexual harassment is happening, they must take action as quickly as possible to stop it.

    If your employer fired you for reporting sexual harassment, this would be retaliatory, and it constitutes wrongful termination. Additionally, employers cannot fire their employees for cooperating with or being witnesses to an internal investigation for sexual harassment.

    Whistleblower Retaliation

    If your employer violates state or federal laws, you have the right to report it. Suppose your employer found out you reported an illegal practice to a government agency and fired you for your report. This is retaliatory termination, which is against California law.

    Retaliation for Complaints About Violations of California Wage Laws

    California has laws regarding minimum wage and work hours for employees, as well as overtime laws and unpaid breaks. Employers are not allowed to fire workers for registering complaints about violations of these laws.

    For example, you might take action against your employer by filing a claim for unpaid wages. If your employer fires you for making this claim, they have wrongfully terminated you.

    Retaliation for Taking Medical or Family Leave

    As an employee, you are entitled to take sick days. Under California law, your employer cannot deny your request for a sick day and cannot take retaliatory action against you for taking a sick day. 

    Furthermore, if your employer fires you within 30 days of a request to take a paid sick day at work, it is presumed to be wrongful termination. In this case, your employer must prove that firing you was for a reason other than your request to take a sick day. 

    State and federal laws also allow employees to care for themselves or others during an illness. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) allow long-term employees 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year in case of a medical or family emergency. 

    Suppose your employer fires you for requesting to take this time off work, fires you while you are on leave, or terminates your employment immediately upon your return. In any of these cases, they could be illegally retaliating against you for exercising your rights.

    Termination and Breach of Contract

    Depending on the written agreement, termination could be wrongful based on a breach of contract.

    Some employees have employment contracts that provide guidelines for termination. Many of these agreements state an employer cannot fire an employee without good cause. If your contract states this, your employer’s reason for firing you must fit within the contract’s description of “good cause.”

    If your employer fires you for some other reason, this may be a breach of contract and constitute wrongful termination.

    Additionally, some employees receive contracts for continued employment. If your employer fires you even with an active agreement providing continued employment, this could also be a wrongful termination due to a breach of contract.

    Compensation for Wrongful Termination in California

    Every wrongful termination case is unique. Therefore, the damages you are entitled to depend entirely on your specific situation.

    However, damages for wrongful termination cases in California might include the following:

    • Lost wages or benefits
    • Pain and suffering
    • Mental and emotional distress

    In some cases, you may also be able to receive punitive damages. These damages are awarded only in cases where an employer’s actions were oppressive, malicious, or fraudulent. They serve to punish the employer for their wrongdoing. 

    Determining how much you could receive in damages can be challenging. Your wrongful termination lawyer will calculate the appropriate amount of damages and work diligently to obtain the compensation you deserve.

    Oakland Wrongful Termination Frequently Asked Questions

    Who is entitled to file a wrongful termination lawsuit?

    Only employees can file wrongful termination lawsuits against their employers. Workers who are not considered employees, such as independent contractors, are typically not eligible to file claims for wrongful termination.

    How long do I have to file a wrongful termination lawsuit?

    The amount of time you have to file a lawsuit depends on the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for your wrongful termination lawsuit depends on the basis for the termination.

    It is best to discuss your particular situation with a wrongful termination lawyer to better understand the timeline to which you must adhere to avoid losing your right to pursue justice and compensation.

    What steps should I take after experiencing a wrongful termination?

    After your employer wrongfully terminates you, you can protect your rights and support your future case by:

    • Documenting everything
    • Collecting relevant evidence
    • Consulting with a wrongful termination attorney in Oakland

    Documentation and evidence can help your attorney build a strong case on your behalf.

    Consult with an Oakland Wrongful Termination Attorney

    Cutter Law has over 130 years of combined experience helping clients who have been wrongfully terminated in the Oakland area. Our passion, dedication, and successful outcomes have earned us recognition, both nationally and in our community. Let us pursue the justice you deserve after experiencing a wrongful termination.

    Contact us today to schedule a meeting with one of our Oakland wrongful termination lawyers.


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    Oakland Office
    Cutter Law P.C.
    1999 Harrison Street Suite 1400
    Oakland, CA 94612

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