Nearly all American states embrace the “at-will” employment concept. What this means is that employees and employers are both free to end a working relationship whenever they want. This termination or employment can occur for a specific reason or for no reason at all. However, this does not give California employers the right to fire a worker in an unlawful manner.
You may already be familiar with the many ways a wrongful termination can occur. Some of these ways include gender discrimination, disability discrimination and even age discrimination. These and other types of wrongful discharge are unfortunately common, but two other forms of unlawful termination exist with which you might be unfamiliar.
Employment contract clauses
Many employment contracts include language defining how a termination can occur. For example, your contract may contain a clause stating that your boss cannot fire you without cause. Some contracts even include a list of things that could warrant termination. If the employer fires the worker for any other reason, the employee may have grounds for a wrongful termination action.
Discussions centered on labor issues
This might come as a surprise, but your employer may not fire you just because you participated in an employee discussion about labor issues such as ways to improve your working conditions. With that said, it can be tricky to pursue a legal remedy if this was the reason for your termination. For guidance on how or if you should seek action against an employer for such a termination, it is wise to consult with an employment attorney first.
The main takeaway here is that the federal and state governments are committed to preserving the rights of workers that have received unfair treatment. This includes wrongful termination and other forms of employer mistreatment.