What Does Wrongful Termination Look Like?
When your company fires an employee, it is natural for them to be upset. After all, they lost their source of income, will have to begin a job search, and might not have expected the termination. However, just because an employee thinks a firing was wrong does not mean that an employer should be liable for wrongful termination.
Many disgruntled former employees lodge complaints of wrongful termination because they do not understand what constitutes an unlawful termination under California law. If your company is facing wrongful termination accusations, speak with an Encino wrongful termination attorney as soon as possible.
Reasons for Wrongful Termination
Your company can fire employees at will, as long as the reason for the termination does not violate the law or public policy of the State of California or the federal government. Some reasons for termination that are not permitted include:
- Sexual harassment or allowing a hostile work environment
- Unlawful discrimination based on race, religion, disability, age, or other protected factors
- Retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim, requesting family and medical leave, or exercising other rights under employment laws
- Retaliation for complaining of wage and hour violations or other non-compliance with employment laws on the part of the employer
- In violation of the terms of an employment contract
- Retaliation for whistleblowing
If you are going to fire an employee, it is critical to have reasons documented that do not involve any of the above. It is all too common for an angry former employee to accuse a company of discrimination, retaliation, or other unlawful conduct when the termination was lawful. It is important to have documentation and other evidence to support the lawful reason for the termination.
Another form of wrongful termination does not involve a company terminating an employee, but instead, an employee quitting. Constructive discharge occurs when a work environment is so intolerable that a reasonable employee would not be able to continue working there, and an employee quits as a result.
If an employee complains of sexual harassment or other harassment that constitutes a hostile work environment, your company should always take the necessary action to investigate and respond to the complaint. If you fail to do so, and the employee quits because of the continuing hostile work environment, your company could face allegations of wrongful termination.
Some employees claim they quit because of intolerable conditions to hold employers liable for constructive discharge when the situation did not justify them quitting. You want to make sure that your business properly responds in this type of situation to defend against such claims.
Learn How an Encino Employment Law Firm Can Help
Whether a former employee accuses your company of wrongful termination or constructive discharge, you want the employment lawyers of Kaufman McAndrew LLP in Encino on your side. We can assess your situation and advise on the best course of action to defend against liability. Contact us to discuss your situation today.