The California Labor Code is an important collection of laws that are intended to protect wage workers in the state, and to ensure that employers are treating their employees both legally and fairly. These civil statutes have been written and codified at different times throughout the history of the state, for a variety of reasons, but each is meant to ensure that you, as a worker, are afforded rights and protections that make your employment safe, productive, and fair.
In some cases, an employer might not play by the rules and it may be time to bring in a labor attorney. For instance, a victim of wrongful termination may not initially realize it, but if their employer took the incorrect steps towards terminating their work contract, they may be eligible for a variety of different damages. The requirements for termination, as well as the necessary steps that an employer must take in order to ensure that the termination is done in accordance with the Labor Code, need to be met in order to avoid any legal consequences.
If you have been let go from a job and you do not think that it was done properly, it might be time for you to talk to a lawyer.
How Does The Labor Code Protect From Wrongful Terminations?
California, like many states, is considered an "at-will" state when it comes to work, meaning that employees are free to quit their jobs at will, and employers are typically allowed to fire employees at will. In many cases, they may not even need a reason to fire the employee. That said, there are some things that are absolutely not allowed under the Labor Code that can be penalized in civil court.
Employers can't fire their employees for certain reasons, such as their race, gender, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation, or other protected characteristics. In addition, they may not fire an employee for using any time off that they are legally allowed, such as paid time off or vacation hours that have been accrued and approved for use. Finally, an employer is not allowed to terminate an employment contract because an employee reported illegal activity. For example, if you reported that your manager was engaging in illegal accounting practices to senior management in your company and you were subsequently fired, this is illegal.
How To Tell If Your Termination Is Protected By the Labor Code
There are a variety of different ways that you can determine whether or not your termination from a job was legal or not. However, keep in mind that it is unlikely that an employer will fire an employee for a reason that is clearly protected by the Labor Code, meaning that they may attempt to find alternate reasons for the termination. If you suspect that you were let go from a position for a reason that is protected under the Labor Code, your best bet is likely to contact an experienced attorney and discuss the situation with them.
Once you are partnered with an attorney, they will be able to go through your contract, your work history, and the nature of your separation from the company in a way that should give you both a better idea of your rights. Keep in mind that you will need to prove that the termination was wrongful to the civil courts, so attempting to make this case on your own is not recommended if you want to maximize your chances of success.