You count on your job to pay your bills and live your life. What you probably didn't count on was being let go because of something you never should have been fired over.
One thing that you have to remember when this happens is that California is an at-will employment state. This means that employers don't need a reason to let you go; however, it doesn't mean that they can fire you for an illegal reason.
Terminations can be illegal
There are some reasons for termination that aren't legal. These protected reasons are meant to provide protection for employees in case they have to file complaints against the employer or need to speak out about things like harassment.
When you are let go for a reason that isn't legal, you might be able to make a wrongful termination claim. There are several things you need to know about wrongful termination.
Three protected areas
Three of the protected areas are retaliation, discrimination and against contractual obligations. Your employer can't fire you if you report illegal actions as long as the reports are factual. You can't be let go because of your age, gender, religious preference or any other protected status. An employer can't terminate you if the termination runs afoul of any employment contract you signed. Of course, you can still be fired if you aren't performing your job duties appropriately or for breaking workplace rules.
Making a wrongful termination claim
There are many different things that you have to consider when you believe you are wrongfully discharged. One of these is that you have to show that you didn't do anything to warrant the termination. You might be able to show employee evaluations and performance reviews to prove this, but it can often be difficult to do this.
In many cases, putting together a timeline of what happened will help to make these claims. You can make note of when incidents that nod to discrimination, harassment or retaliation occurred or when there was an illegal activity at the company. Include when you made complaints about the issues and what transpired between that time and your termination.
In some cases, constructive dismissal, which means you were forced to quit due to conditions imposed by the employer, might also lead to a wrongful termination claim. You should evaluate the circumstances to determine if the case meets the requirements for a wrongful termination case.