California is an at-will employment state. But contrary to popular belief, that does not mean that your employer can terminate you for any reason. There are certain state-wide and federal laws in place that protect people from being terminated under very specific circumstances.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, there is a minimum of 150,000 wrongful terminations across the U.S. annually. But what constitutes wrongful termination? And how do you know whether you have been illegally fired from your job? We explore these details and more below.
Back in December of 2016, the then fire engineer for South Pasadena, Owen Cliff Snider, was terminated after participating in an eight-mile obstacle race while on paid leave for a work-related back injury. Prior to this event, Snider was always recognized at work as having been an exemplary employee.
It was only after he raised concerns, over five months later, while serving as President of the South Pasadena Firefighters Association that the city was going to impose a light-duty policy that had previously never been in place that he was terminated from his position.
For nearly four years, Snider made attempts to settle with the city, to no avail. The California Supreme Court finally ruled in June that they would refuse to hear a lower court’s ruling that Snider be reinstated as a South Pasadena fire engineer. Additionally, he will be entitled to full back pay, plus interest and benefits.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over fifty-three percent of all wrongful termination, cases are caused by retaliation. Snider was able to win his wrongful termination complaints by establishing that the city only terminated him after raising complaints regarding their light-duty policy.
Had the city taken steps to reprimand him when they first learned of his participation in an obstacle course while on paid leave for a work injury, they may have had a better chance at winning their case?
Under California law, wrongful termination occurs when an employer terminates an employee for an illegal reason. Some of the most common illegal firings include:
If you believe your employer did not have the right to fire you, you may be able to fight for justice when you call a wrongful termination lawyer in California.
Do you believe you may have grounds for a wrongful termination complaint against your former employer? Find out what legal options may be available to you when you call an experienced California wrongful termination lawyer at The Rager Law Offices.
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