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What You Need to Know About California Employment Laws

California workers that are categorized as “at will” employees may find themselves in danger of being terminated from their workplace for virtually any reason even when it is an unjust one or for no reason at all. Normally, an employee who has been working for an organization for less than five years and does not have an employment contract, may be considered an “at will” employee under the California employment laws.

The termination needs to have violated some fundamental right to file a wrongful termination claim. Simply put, this means that some federal statute or state regulation or constitutional provision should have already been broken by the termination. For instance, when the employer orders an employee to do something which is against the law, regulation, ordinance or statute, the company cannot lawfully fire that worker for refusing to do such a thing. More to this, one may pursue this in cases such as when an employee complains about what they believe is a violation of the law such as failure to pay overtime, late payment of wages or workplace safety issues and is fired as a result.

Another infringement that would lead to a wrongful termination claim comes up when the employee’s authentic reason behind letting go of the worker is dependent on the employee’s gender, age, disability, religion or national origin. Although such discriminations are under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, they can also result in a common law claim as they can be in breach of the public policy. Likewise, this also is true for termination made in retaliation for a worker’s opposition to or complaints about harassment or discrimination on any of the protected classifications listed above. Consider the example when an employee complain about sexual harassment and is criticized at work, or is written up, disciplined or fired for it. In such a case, they’d have a claim for retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act as well as at common law.

Other terminations might be unlawful as they have been declared so under different laws. Some of these are the firing of employees because of taking medical, or maternity leave or sexual orientation. Employees who need to take leave as a result of a serious medical condition or must care for a parent or a child that has such a condition, are protected under what the law states. The protection under law applies if they have worked for the company for more than a year or more than 1250 hours during the previous year or the organization has more than 50 workers within a seventy-five-mile radius. State and Federal laws are enacted to protect workers against wrongful termination. Normally, these laws prohibit termination based on race, age, gender, nationality, religion and disability.
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