Some executive approaches you, a financial professional responsible for safeguarding records and reports. Due to be released Monday is an earnings report that may jeopardize company stock. He asks you to type up another report ‘overestimate earnings’ at the behest of other executives. That’s the report he wants to be sent to regulatory bodies.
But you refuse. The original report enters mainstream media, company stock plummets by no direct action of your own, and you’re immediately fired for failing to comply with an executive’s direct order to commit fraud.
This situation, along with similar actions, merit phoning a Riverside wrongful termination attorney at The Rager Law Firm.
Under California law, being terminated for failing to violate public policy is nearly a slam-dunk wrongful termination case.
Wrongful termination means that you were fired in a way that violates the law. You have the legal right to file a lawsuit against your employer to recover damages, and in some cases, other penalties and costs. In the above example, it may be appropriate for you to seek the advice of a skilled wrongful termination lawyer who can advise you as to the best course of action.
Generally, there are three ways that wrongful termination occurs:
Employees are let go in violation of company policy;
Employees are let go in violation of public policy; or,
Employees are let go for illegal reasons, such as discrimination.
According to law, at-will employees may be terminated for no reason, or for irrational reasons. You may not know if you are an at-will employee. Often, employers will have new employees sign documents agreeing that they are at-will employees. In other situations, there may be an employee manual that states you can be fired without good cause. Nevertheless, at-will employees are still entitled to legal protections under California and federal law, such as protection against discrimination based on race, gender, or religion. Additionally, there is an implied contract that the employer should not terminate employment without good cause.
Employees that sign an employment contract that states they have job security are not at-will employees. These agreements may indicate that employees can be terminated under certain conditions, often stating “for good cause.” Good cause includes not meeting performance standards, for example. Typically, good cause refers to fair and honest reasons, as opposed to trivial reasons or those unrelated to business needs.
However, the law holds that there cannot be a right to terminate an employee for an unlawful or illegal reason or a reason that goes against fundamental public policy. The courts have held that if it were otherwise, this would allow “lawlessness.” If you believe you were wrongfully terminated under California or federal law, an experienced wrongful termination lawyer can help.
Wrongfully Terminated? We’re Willing To Fight
Cases of wrongful termination see damages consistent with tort law, meaning compensation expands well past wage and benefit losses. Suffering, punitive damages, emotional distress, and anxiety, along with medical bills that ensued from treating depression and similar issues stemming from job loss may be awarded by judges or juries in California.
With an aggressive Riverside wrongful termination attorney working on your case, your odds of successfully holding an employer accountable for illegal firing increase tenfold.
As employees from public and private sectors are empowered to sue employers for wrongful termination, don’t fear retaliation or think your place of employment is exempt; The Rager Law Firm can help determine case eligibility and will begin working on collecting evidence immediately.
Discrimination-based discharges fall under wrongful termination, too.
Terminated For Not Breaking The Law?
Failing to violate public policy, break Federal or State laws, or being coerced to cover up actions that may label you an accomplice to criminal activities are not grounds for termination. Seems redundant our law firm needs to address this, but some employers just don’t get it.
We’ve taken cases where employees were downright terrified their failure to break company laws would land them in jail, fearing someone would frame them for crimes they didn’t commit.
Proving Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy According to California and Federal Law
When you have been fired for exercising a legal right or performing an obligation, you may have a valid legal claim against your employer. If that legal right or obligation was connected to an important public policy, as the plaintiff you can file a wrongful termination lawsuit. You cannot be retaliated against or fired for refusing to break the law. Employers may not fire you for taking time from work to serve on a jury or engaging in political activities. You may have a right to sue if you were fired for:
Performing a legal duty;
Refusing to violate a statute;
Reporting an alleged violation of a statute of public significance; or,
Exercising a right or privilege.
Refusing to abuse children, forge documents, engage in insider trading, or being retaliated against for reporting these activities, are more cases of wrongful termination which our experienced Riverside wrongful termination attorney will seek maximum compensation for clients.
A common lawsuit is a wrongful discharge involving an employee terminated for reporting the employer violated the law. This type of case is called “whistleblower retaliation,” and both federal and California law support employees asserting their rights after being fired in these situations.
For all lawsuits involving wrongful termination based on public policy, employee plaintiffs will be required to show a connection, or “nexus” between the employer’s public policy violation and the firing. The court will look to a clear, causal connection. In other words, the plaintiff will be required to show that the employer’s request to violate the law was directly connected to their termination.
California courts require that employees meet certain requirements when filing a lawsuit for public policy wrongful termination. The public policy involved in the case must meet certain requirements, such as being “substantial and fundamental.” It is also necessary that the public policy serve the interests of the public. This is usually straightforward, but it is also necessary that the policy be well-established.
Is Constructive Discharge Covered?
Begin forced to submit a resignation if public policy laws weren’t broken is considered a constructive discharge. To bring this type of lawsuit, you must show that your employer either intentionally created or knowingly allowed workplace conditions to be intolerable. The standard of proof is that any reasonable employee would resign if work conditions were unbearable, or legally unethical, and resigning was the only available recourse. These cases are growing in popularity as employees feel pressured to either act illegally, or quit.
Compensation rights for constructive or wrongful termination are identical.
If you feel that failing to comply with unreasonable demands led to your wrongful termination, it’s imperative you contact The Rager Law Firm today. As we are the Riverside wrongful termination firm of choice locally, we have significant knowledge of employment and tort law.