When Is Employee Termination Unlawful?

It never feels “right” to be fired, but in most cases, employers do have the legal right to fire employees for any reason at all—or even for no reason. This is referred to as “at will” employment. But there are certain circumstances in which being terminated is a violation of labor law. If you suspect that the termination of your employment was based on an unlawful reason or was a violation of your employment agreement, it’s time to make an appointment at a law office.

When It Violates a Written Contract

Most employees do not have labor contracts, but if you do, you should bring a copy to your lawyer’s office. Your employer cannot lawfully fire you in a way that breaches the terms of your contract. It may also be possible to make a case for unlawful termination if the incident violated the terms of a written employment offer letter.

When It Violates an Implied Contract

An implied contract is a spoken promise. It may be possible to build a wrongful termination case based on a breach of an implied contract. For instance, if you had a long-term illness, your employer might have said something like, “Take all the time you need, you’ll always have a job here.” To assess the existence of an implied contract, the court may also consider the duration of your employment and your history of performance reviews.

When It Violates Public Policy

Federal and state laws prohibit employers from terminating workers for certain reasons. It is unlawful to fire someone for taking time off to serve on a jury, vote, participate in whistleblowing activities, or serve in the armed services.

When It’s Based on Discrimination

It’s a violation of federal and state laws to fire an employee for discriminatory reasons, such as discrimination based on the following protected classes:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetic information

If you think you may have been unlawfully fired in Concord, CA, labor law may be on your side. Contact The Law Offices of Jon Webster at (925) 609-7600. During your consultation, our lawyer will thoroughly review your case and counsel you about your legal rights.

Categories: Business Law


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