If you have reason to believe your sudden job loss was the product of a wrongful termination predicated upon malice, retaliation, or other unlawful factors, then you need to stand up and hold your employer accountable. The Rissell Law Firm understands that unexpectedly losing a job can be one of the most stressful and anxiety-inducing experiences someone can endure. In the blink of an eye, your world could be turned upside down and your mind inundated with questions and concerns about your income, health insurance, retirement savings, and so forth.
In order to have a viable wrongful termination claim, there needs to be an overt act or omission by your employer that violates the law. In other words, being treated poorly by your boss is generally insufficient evidence to pursue a wrongful termination claim. Even if you had to endure a terrible supervisor who showed favoritism to others while treating you poorly, that in and of itself is not enough. There needs to be evidence that you were terminated for an unlawful reason. It is also worth noting that the term “wrongful termination” is an umbrella term meant to encompass various legal claims. It is not typically a standalone cause of action and can encompass many other legal claims.
The term “at-will employment” basically means that both you (i.e. the employee) and your employer are free to end the employment arrangement at any time for essentially any reason or no reason at all. You can depart for a new job or other opportunity at the time of your choosing. Similarly, an employer generally has the authority to terminate you whenever they feel it is warranted or necessary. However, there are laws in place that place proverbial guardrails on when and why an employer can terminate an employee.
In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from terminating an employee on the basis of the employee’s race, color, age (40 and over), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, national origin, religious affiliation or practice, genetic information, medical condition, marital status, status as a veteran. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list.
Nevada has similar protections but protects less categories of protected classes under Federal Law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964). If you have reason to believe you were fired due to one of these characteristics, you may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit and recover monetary damages.
If you take a leave of absence from your job, there are specific types of leave that are statutorily protected, which means your employer cannot fire you or retaliate against you for taking these types* of leave:
To prevail in a wrongful termination claim against your employer, you bear the evidentiary burden of proving that the employer’s grounds for firing you were unlawful. The applicable standard of proof in a California wrongful termination case is that the employee’s protected act or omission was a “substantial motivating reason” for the employer’s decision to terminate you. This means that the unlawful reason does not need to be the only motivating factor.
Be proactive and take action by contacting Melody Rissell Leonard, a reputable and respected wrongful termination attorney practicing in California and Nevada. Melody may be able to help you in filing a claim to pursue damages related to your lost wages, emotional distress, and, in some cases, attorneys fees and punitive damages. Contact Melody today to schedule a free, confidential case review.