Riverside Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Protecting Worker Rights Throughout Southern California
California law protects workers against termination for illegal reasons. While most employees work “at will,” all California workers have rights. If you’ve been fired due to unlawful discrimination, because you blew the whistle on wrongful conduct, or for any other improper reason, you have the right to fight back. The passionate and effective wrongful termination and workers’ rights attorneys at Ochoa & Calderon are here to help you get the compensation you are owed.
At-Will Employees Are Protected from Wrongful Termination
Public sector employees and private sector employees who work under contract can only be terminated for cause according to the terms of their contract or the California or federal laws that govern their employment. All other workers in California are “at-will” employees, meaning they can be fired at any time, and the employer does not have to provide a reason why the employee is being fired. The employer can have a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all. Similarly, at-will employees can quit their job at any time for a good reason, a bad reason, or without giving any reason. Even at-will employees cannot be fired for illegal reasons, however, such as unfair workplace practices.
Unfair Workplace Practices and Wrongful Termination
Both California and federal law protect workers from termination for a variety of reasons based on law or public policy. The Riverside employee rights attorneys at Ochoa & Calderon protect workers in wrongful termination lawsuits based on:
- Your employer cannot terminate you based on your membership in a protected class. Protected classes are based on certain undisputable characteristics. In California, those characteristics include race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, religion, age, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, political affiliation, citizenship, marital status, medical condition, and pregnancy. Some California cities have additional protected classes, as well.
- Your employer cannot terminate you for reporting a violation of any local, state, or federal law, rule, or regulation. For example, you cannot be terminated for reporting a wage and hour violation, for raising concerns about workplace harassment, or for reporting a potential violation of securities laws.
- Retaliation for engaging in a protected activity. You cannot be terminated for engaging in a legally protected activity. In California, you have the right to do the following without termination:
- Serve on a jury
- Take a protected family or medical leave
- Take protected time off to recover after being the victim of a crime
- Request accommodation for lactation
- Oppose workplace harassment or discrimination in the workplace
- Report harassment or discrimination in the workplace or take part in an investigation or other legal proceeding concerning harassment or discrimination
- Complain internally or externally about wage and hour violations
- Wrongful constructive termination. Under California law, you can sue for wrongful termination even if you have not been directly terminated. If an employer makes working conditions so intolerable as to force the employee to resign, but the employer would have been unable to directly terminate the employee for contract or public policy reasons, then the employee might have a claim for wrongful constructive termination.
- WARN Act violation. California law requires employers with at least 75 employees to provide 60 days’ notice to staff before engaging in massive layoffs or closing/relocating a facility. Employees who do not get such notice can sue for wages and benefits for that lost 60 days, or if there were some notice, wages and benefits for the amount of time by which the notice fell short of 60 days.
There are many reasons why your termination might be considered against public policy. If your termination goes against any provision of California state or federal law, you could have grounds to claim wrongful termination. Talk to a seasoned wrongful termination lawyer at Ochoa & Calderon about your termination to learn whether you have the right to pursue legal action.
Damages for Wrongful Termination
If your employer has laid you off for improper reasons, you have the right to pursue legal action. You may or may not be able to get your old job back, but you can seek several types of damages to compensate you for the harm that your employer caused with their illegal conduct.
The seasoned wrongful termination lawyers at Ochoa & Calderon regularly fight to obtain comprehensive damages for wronged employees, including:
- Lost wages. You are entitled to the wages you would have received had you not been wrongfully terminated. If you were rehired at a new job, your lost wages may be offset by the wages you are receiving at your new position.
- Lost benefits. You can seek damages for benefits you lost as a result of your termination, including health insurance, retirement plans, stock options, bonuses, and other benefits.
- Pain and suffering. You may seek damages for the emotional distress caused by your wrongful termination. Pain and suffering damages are especially available in cases where an employer’s wrongful conduct causes a terminated worker mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, that can be verified by a mental health professional.
- Punitive damages. If the employer’s conduct was especially willful and egregious, then they may be subject to punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded on top of the damages needed to compensate the victim and are intended to punish the wrongdoer.
- Attorney fees. Depending on the case, you may be able to recover the costs of litigating your claim, including your lawyer’s fees.
Wrongful Termination Attorneys Serving Riverside and Southern California
If you have been terminated from your job in violation of California state or federal law, reach out to Ochoa & Calderon for a free consultation. We take appropriate cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only charge a fee if we are successful on your behalf, and our fees come as a percentage of the amount we recover for you. You’ve got nothing to lose by calling now, but you could miss out on enforcing your legal rights if you wait too long. Call us at 951-901-4444 in Riverside or throughout Southern California at 844-401-0750. Our lawyers are ready to fight for you.