What Constitutes Wrongful Termination In California?

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Denis ZilberbergMay 11, 2019Wrongful Termination

In California, most employees are hired on an “at will” basis, which means they can choose to terminate their relationship with an employer at any time. Likewise, they can also be terminated by the employer at any time. There does not have to be any advance notice. There are, however, a number of termination reasons that are illegal and therefore off-limits for employers, and California offers significantly more protections for employees than most other states do.

Breach of Contract

If your contract promising continued employment for a specific length of time, or if it limits your employer’s capacity to terminate you, and they terminate you anyway, you probably have a very strong wrongful termination claim and should reach out to The Kaufman Law Firm and our wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles now.

Employment contracts may be oral or written. It may also be obscured by certain actions or statements your employer makes, such as those found in a handbook for employees that says employees can only be fired for cause. Furthermore, if your employer is in breach of contract, you may be able to file a claim against them for pay, benefits, and whatever else you would have received if you had completed the contract.

Protected Characteristics

In California, it is illegal for an employer to make decisions about a job – including whether to fire employees, based on certain protected characteristics. If you were fired because you belong to one of these protected classes, it is likely that you have a strong case for wrongful termination. If you win such a lawsuit, your employer can be forced to cover the cost of your lost wages and benefits in addition to your attorneys’ fees and court costs as well as damages for emotional distress, and possibly even punitive damages.


An employer cannot fire employees who exercise or try to enforce their legal rights. They can’t fire you for having filed complaints of discrimination/ harassment or worker’s compensation claims. They also can’t let you go for requesting/taking family and/or medical leave as well as jury duty. You can’t legally be fired for complaining about wage and hour violations like unpaid overtime or illicit tip-sharing arrangements, either.

If you were let go after making one of these complaints or exercising your rights, it is probable that you have a claim against your former employer. Damages typically awarded for retaliation judgments vary, but you can most likely expect to collect lost wages and benefits as well as attorneys’ fees, damages related to emotional distress, and sometimes even punitive damages. Contact The Kaufman Law Firm and our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney now to discuss your case at 310-981-3404.



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Your job is more than just a source of income. It is a major part of your lifestyle. If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, wrongful demotion or any kind of discriminatory business practices, it is time to take action and contact a Ventura employment law attorney that can help. Attorney Matthew A. Kaufman and the team at The Kaufman Law Firm bring experience and a vast arsenal of legal resources to help clients recover the money they deserve.

To learn more, contact our Westlake Village law office today and schedule an initial evaluation to discuss your case.

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