The boss is not always right, nor is he or she all-powerful. Though most workers are at-will employees, the law does not allow businesses to fire them for any reason under the sun. Indeed, there are restrictions on firing an employee or forcing her to quit for certain reasons, such as when a worker uncovers illegal activity at the company.
In California, wrongful termination is against the law, and victims have the right to sue their former employers. Depending on the facts involved, plaintiffs may be able to recover lost wages and other losses caused by losing their job. If the firing was particularly egregious, the employer could be ordered to pay punitive damages on top of the actual damages, and may even face monetary penalties for violating public policy.
Some victims are not technically fired, but quit their job because managers or others made continuing to work for the company completely intolerable. This is known as “constructive wrongful termination,” and it is recognized as a form of wrongful termination under the law. However, the worker must have exhausted all available means of reporting the workplace conditions before resigning for it to count.
The burden is on the plaintiff to prove that she lost her job due to wrongful termination. Convincing the court can be tricky, but an experienced employment law attorney knows where to look for evidence. Common evidence includes computer-generated communications, statements made by supervisors and co-workers, and documents.
Someone illegally fired does not have to take it lying down. An attorney can help answer your initial questions about your case.