Discriminatory employers can't simply fire a worker because he or she is a member of a specific race or religion. For this reason, they could make working conditions so intolerable that the employee decides to quit. When this happens, it's called "constructive dismissal" – and just like firing someone for discriminatory reasons is unlawful, constructive dismissal is also a violation of state and federal employment laws.
Some employees in the United States benefit from certain privileges under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This law specifically protects the jobs of workers employed at firms with 50-plus employees (within a radius of 75 miles) as well as workers employed by private and public schools and public agencies.
With the legalization of same-sex marriage, many Americans assumed that discrimination against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation was a thing of the past. However, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, if you're a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, you know that you're always at risk of facing discrimination on the street, at work, at church and even at home.
If you have recently been fired, it is likely that you were surprised by the sudden and arguably unnecessary termination of your employment. While your employer does not need to give a specific reason for why you were fired, they cannot fire you for a wrongful reason. For example, they cannot fire you for a discriminatory reason such as your race, religion, pregnancy or sexual orientation.
When you had your employment terminated, it is likely that you were in a state of shock and perhaps panic. When such an unexpected thing happens, we may worry about our future, and especially about our finances. Therefore, when a severance pay package is offered, we will most likely accept it without thinking twice.
When a person is employed at-will in the state of California, it means that there is no notice period that either employee or employer must adhere to when ending the employment relationship. This means that the terms of employment are not very secure and there will likely be no severance package or other benefits to come with the employment termination unless it is stated in the contract.
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.
This might not make sense to some people, but it can actually be difficult to identify wrongful termination. For example, if an employer has been thinking about getting rid of a worker for illegal reasons, he or she may disguise the termination by listing a legal reason for firing the worker. Because the vast majority of employment in California is "at-will," wrongful termination can go completely overlooked.
Discrimination against protected groups is prohibited by federal and California law. Offenses may take the form of verbal abuse, limited opportunities or wrongful termination. The Golden State's Fair Employment and Housing Act names race, color, gender, disability and religion among other classes that create a protected group.
California law often exceeds federal regulations in protecting its workforce's employee rights. New laws supplement these protections, such as a 12-week requirement for new parent leave and a highly competitive minimum wage. One of the most important laws protects employees from wrongful termination or dismissal without cause.