California is an “at will” employment state, meaning employees can generally be let go for any reason or no reason at all. However, there are very specific exceptions to “employment at will” rules, including:
- Violations of existing employment contracts
- Fraud or misrepresentation
- Firing after inducement
- “Implied contracts”
- Retaliatory discharge, including whistleblower claims
- Violations of public policy, including sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination
There are various options available if you feel that you are the victim of wrongful termination. This includes the filing of complaints with appropriate government agencies, including the EEOC and the Department of Labor. Based on careful investigation and application of California law, you may also have recourse to a wrongful termination lawsuit.
A multitude of federal, state and local statutes mandate that employers provide equal access and equal protection to all employees, customers, vendors and others. Madsen Law Firm has litigated numerous complex discrimination cases where individuals and institutions have failed to provide necessary protection. Madsen Law Firm is experienced in the investigation, negotiation and litigation of discrimination claims both on the job and elsewhere, including:
- Age Discrimination
- Sex / Gender Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination
- “Reverse” Discrimination
- Race / Religious / National Origin Discrimination
- Governmental Interference
- Access to Services
- Right to Work
- Gay Rights / Title VII Claims
An employer cannot fire an employee on a discriminatory basis (gender, religion, national origin, etc.) or for reporting an instance of discrimination in the workplace.
If you believe you were fired for reporting discrimination by your employer, Madsen Law Firm can help you understand your legal options and take appropriate action. We understand the state and federal employment laws that protect workers from retaliatory discharge. Under state and federal laws, an employee cannot be fired or otherwise punished for engaging in protected conduct such as:
- Reporting harassment
- Reporting discrimination (whistleblower cases)
- Refusing to engage in illegal activity
- Serving in the armed forces
- Requesting overtime pay or additional benefits
An employee who has experienced retaliatory discharge may be entitled to compensation. Monetary damages may be available for lost wages, lost benefits, emotional suffering, and possible punitive damages.
Wage and Hour
A person must be paid a fair hourly wage or salary under the Fair Labor Standards Act and California law. There are several common Wage and Hour violations many California employers find themselves faced with. This includes such acts as misclassifying their employees as exempt to avoid paying overtime or failing to properly compute the amount owed for overtime. It is illegal for an employer to require or permit employees to work “off the clock.” Many employers also violate the law by failing to provide meal periods and rest periods in a manner that is consistent with their obligations.
The government favors employees coming forward to report illegal activity by their employer. In order to protect these whistleblowers, the law makes it illegal to terminate someone who reports an employer. Madsen Law Firm provides legal advice and representation to California employees who have suffered retaliation resulting from the reporting of illegal activity in the workplace. In addition, our firm also counsels individuals prior to termination or harassment and can assist with the negotiation of exit or severance packages.