Wrongful Termination in California
In California, employment is “at will.” This means that an employee can be fired for any reason or for no reason at all. Still, there are protections against wrongful termination, even though the general rule is that the employer/employee relationship is based on voluntary consent.
In California, you cannot be fired for reasons that violate public policy. There are 4 main reasons for termination that constitute violations of public policy:
Refusing to violate a law: if an employer tells you to do something which you know to be against the law, and you refuse, you cannot be fired for refusing to break the law.
Performing a legal obligation: if you are legally required to do something, your employer may not terminate or otherwise discipline you for obeying the law.
Exercising a legal or constitutional right: if you have a legal right to engage in a certain type of activity (political association, free speech, etc.) your employer may not terminate or otherwise discipline you for engaging in that activity.
Reporting a violation of a law: if you think that your employer has violated a law, you can report the employer without fear of reprisal. This includes health and safety regulations. For these purposes, all that matters is that your report was made in good faith. It does not matter if your report later turns out to be inaccurate. A qualified California lawyer can provided you more information if there is a legal basis for a claim.
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Last Modified: 09-06-2012 08:36 AM PDT