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California Wrongful Termination & Retaliation Lawyers

California and federal law protects workers like you from being penalized or dismissed from work for complaining about unlawful conduct or engaging in protected activities. This illegal dismissal is wrongful termination retaliation.

Wrongful Termination & Retaliation Comes in Many Forms

Wrongful termination happens when an employment relationship is ended by an employer in violation of the employee’s legal rights.⁠ In California, wrongful termination claims can arise when an employer violates a state or federal statute,⁠ general principles of public policy, the worker’s employment contract, or some other aspect of the law.

California’s constructive discharge laws recognize situations where an employee resigns due to intolerable working conditions that a reasonable person would feel compelled to leave, essentially making it a forced resignation. This is treated similarly to wrongful termination.

Dismissal laws, on the other hand, protect employees from being fired without a valid reason, especially in cases where an employment contract or law specifies grounds for termination, aiming to prevent unjust firings and protect workers’ rights.

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California does not have specific laws labeled as “quiet firing” laws. Quiet firing refers to a practice where employers create or allow a work environment that is intentionally unwelcoming or difficult for an employee, hoping the employee will choose to resign.

However, aspects of this practice could intersect with existing employment laws regarding constructive discharge, workplace harassment, and discrimination. California’s labor laws strongly protect employees from unfair treatment, harassment, and discrimination in the workplace, which could cover situations akin to quiet firing if they create a hostile work environment or amount to constructive discharge.

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California’s unfair dismissal laws are designed to protect employees from being terminated for unlawful reasons. The state operates under an “at-will” employment principle, meaning either the employer or employee can terminate employment at any time for any reason, as long as it’s not illegal.

However, exceptions exist where dismissals are considered unfair, such as terminations based on discrimination (e.g., race, gender, age), retaliation (e.g., for whistleblowing or exercising labor rights), violation of public policy (e.g., firing an employee for refusing to commit an illegal act), or breach of an employment contract. These protections aim to ensure that employees are not unjustly fired and have recourse through legal channels if they believe their dismissal was wrongful.

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California’s wrongful termination by breach of contract laws protect employees who are dismissed in violation of the terms outlined in their employment contract. If an employee has a written, oral, or implied contract that provides specific job security or outlines conditions under which termination is permissible, and the employer terminates the employment outside those conditions, it may constitute wrongful termination.

This can include firing an employee without following the contractually required notice period or reason for termination. In such cases, the employee may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, benefits, and sometimes punitive damages, depending on the breach’s nature and impact.

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California’s wrongful termination by discrimination laws prohibit employers from firing employees based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, or medical conditions, among others. These laws ensure that all employees are treated fairly and are not dismissed for reasons that are unrelated to their job performance or the business needs of the employer.

If an employee is terminated for any of these discriminatory reasons, they may have the right to file a claim against the employer for wrongful termination, seeking remedies that can include reinstatement, compensation for lost wages and benefits, emotional distress damages, and sometimes punitive damages.

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California’s wrongful termination due to retaliation laws safeguard employees from being fired as a form of punishment for engaging in legally protected activities. This includes reporting illegal activities or violations (whistleblowing), filing a complaint about workplace safety, harassment, discrimination, taking family or medical leave, or exercising any other rights protected under state or federal law.

If an employer terminates, demotes, or takes other adverse employment actions against an employee in retaliation for these protected activities, the employee may have grounds to file a wrongful termination claim. Remedies for such a claim can include job reinstatement, back pay, damages for emotional distress, and sometimes punitive damages.

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Our Approach

Our Practices are Guided by Integrity. We’ll protect what you deserve.

We work tirelessly and fight tenaciously to hold rights abusers accountable.

If you’ve experienced a distressing incident related to an issue like this, call us for a free case evaluation.

Did You Know?

Federal and state laws protect employees from retaliation for reporting unlawful or unsafe working conditions either within the organization or to government agencies.
Quiet Firing
In California, employees are protected against quiet firing through labor laws that enforce fair treatment, allowing recourse against discriminatory, retaliatory, or unjust practices that could lead to constructive dismissal.

Is It Illegal, or Just Unfair?

Legal cases can be lengthy, complicated, and confusing, but you don’t have to take on the system all by yourself. If you believe someone has violated your individual rights, or the rights of a large group of people in your community, we can help you find the right course of action.

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