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How Can a Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Lawyer Help?

Termination of employment Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer.

Losing your job under any set of circumstances can cause mental stress and financial hardship. Wrongfully losing your job through no fault of your own can cause additional feelings of betrayal and deception. An experienced Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer at Attorneys for Employees (AFE) understands the challenges you are facing. With a practice that focuses on helping employees, we can provide a case review and help you understand your options.

At-Will Employment in Los Angeles

According to California Labor Code 2922, California is an “at-will employment” state, which means the employer or the employee may end the working relationship at any time. However, being an at-will state does not give employers the right to terminate employees for illegal reasons. When they do a claim for wrongful termination is often the result.

At-Will Employment Is Not As Broad As Your Employer Thinks

While at-will employment is intended to make it easier for employers to terminate employees, it is not an absolute shield against potential liability for wrongful termination. Both California and federal law recognize that an employer’s freedom concerning hiring and firing must be balanced against an employee’s right to fair and equitable employment. To this end, there are several well-recognized exceptions to at-will employment.

These exceptions fall into the broad categories described above, but more specifically, employees can pursue wrongful termination claims in the following situations: 

  • You were terminated for discriminatory reasons. 
  • You were terminated as a result of requesting a reasonable accommodation. 
  • You were terminated as a result of requesting or using FMLA or CFRA leave. 
  • You were terminated in retaliation for reporting illegal working conditions or wage practices. 
  • You were terminated in breach of your written employment contract or an implied contract. 
  • You were terminated for exercising your constitutional rights. 

Most, if not all, employers recognize that there are limits to at-will employment. It is rare for an employer to claim that terminating an employee under the same or similar circumstances was permissible under at-will employment. Rather than admit any wrongdoing, they will likely offer some pretextual reason for your termination. 

Employees who have been unfairly fired need a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney to overcome whatever baseless pretext is offered by their employer. They can help you prove your case so that you can get the compensation you deserve and move on to better opportunities.  

Examples of Wrongful Termination

Listed below are examples of some of the most common types of wrongful terminations. 

  • You were terminated for whistleblowing, which is reporting your company’s activities that you reasonably believed to be illegal.
  • Your company terminated you as part of discriminatory conduct based on your sex, race, religion, age, disability, or other protected class status.
  • Your company terminated you after reporting unlawful discrimination, such as sexual, racial, disability, age, or marital status.
  • You were fired due to reporting unsafe work conditions or unpaid wages.
  • You were terminated for violation of an implied contract, such as any verbal agreement or an agreement reached through a party’s conduct or behavior.  

This list is far from all-inclusive, so if you believe you have been the victim of wrongful termination for any reason, contact our firm today to learn how we can help you.

What Are Grounds for Wrongful Termination?

As mentioned above, California is an “at-will” employment state. This means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time and for any reason, or even for no reason at all. However, this rule is not without exception. Even with at-will employment, employers can illegally terminate employees and expose themselves to a wrongful termination lawsuit. 

In short, employees can pursue a wrongful termination claim if their employers fired them in violation of state or federal law. There are several, well-recognized exceptions to at-will employment in California. 

Breach of Contract 

Many employees sign a contract when they start their jobs. These contracts may include provisions guaranteeing that they will be employed for a specific period of time or that they can only be terminated “for cause.” In other words, “at-will” employment does not override the provisions of an employment contract. Employees who are terminated in breach of their employment contracts can pursue wrongful termination claims against their employers.

As an aside, California does recognize verbal or implied contracts. In other words, an employer’s verbal statements can create a binding contract that gives rise to a wrongful termination claim. 

Discrimination Explained by a Los Angeles Wrongful Termination

State and federal law protects employees from discrimination based on their race, age, gender (including gender expression and gender orientation), disability or medical condition, sexual orientation, religion, pregnancy, marital status, or military or veteran status. Both state and federal law prohibit employers from terminating employees for discriminatory reasons, and those employees may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against their employers. 


It is also against the law for employers to fire employees for exercising specific employment rights. As a result, you may be able to pursue a wrongful termination claim if you were fired as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim, filing a wage or hour claim, taking time off for jury duty, requesting medical or family leave, or filing a complaint alleging discrimination or harassment. 

Public Policy

It is also against the law to terminate an employee if it would violate public policy. These claims often look very similar to retaliation claims, in that the termination is often retaliatory. However, public policy claims do not necessarily involve the exercise of specific rights. Instead, they recognize that public policy should not allow employers to terminate employees for things such as exercising their general legal rights, refusing to engage in illegal activity or whistleblowing.

Attorneys for Employees’ Approach to Wrongful Termination Cases

As an employment law firm focused on representing employees, we bring a unique perspective and specific approach to every case we handle. Your case is not just another case for us – this is your career and your life, and we don’t forget it. If you believe you were unfairly terminated from your job, a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer from Attorneys for Employees can help you move forward. 

We Listen

When clients come to us following a wrongful termination, the first thing they want is to be heard. They have been through a traumatic experience, are worried about their future, and often feel humiliated or angry. We’re here to listen to your story from start to finish, in as much detail as you are able to share. Any consultation with us is always confidential, and we work to provide a comfortable environment for discussing your situation. 

But listening is about more than just giving you a place to vent your frustrations. You are not a lawyer, and as a result, you may not understand your rights or recognize the legal issues involved in your case. We listen carefully to identify the legal issues so that we can begin developing a plan for finding a way forward and finding you some relief. 

Lastly, we listen so that we can identify how your termination will affect you personally. Your case isn’t just a question of whether or not your rights have been violated, but how your termination will affect your everyday life. We want to understand the challenges you face – how you will be impacted financially, the challenges you face in finding another job, and how it will affect your ability to take care of your family. Understanding these challenges is critical to developing a legal strategy that is best suited to your needs. Partner with a knowledgeable wrongful termination attorney who is here to listen when you need them.  

We Thoroughly Investigate Your Case

The success of your case depends on evidence. We dig deep into every facet of your termination to make sure we have all of the pertinent facts. Some of the things that we will do to help build your case include the following: 

  • Review any performance reviews and other documentation related to your performance or termination
  • Review your employment contract or other documents regarding the terms of your employment
  • Review your employer’s employee manual and policies or procedures concerning termination of employees
  • Identify all potential legal violations
  • Identify and possibly interview potential witnesses
  • Document all of your lost income and other financial impacts of your termination

We leave no stone unturned and strive to have total mastery of your case. This helps us give you accurate, candid legal advice that helps you understand your options so that you can make the right decisions about what is best for you. 

We Aggressively Advocate for You

You have worked hard to get to where you are. Your termination may be just a temporary setback, but we’re here to make sure you get what you need to make a fresh start. From day one, we’re prepared to go to court to hold your employer accountable. Other firms may start with settlement as their primary objective. We believe in negotiating from a position of strength that comes from being prepared to litigate. We are here to make sure you get everything you are entitled to. 

That said, you are a partner in this process. We shape our advocacy to meet your goals. We will help you decide what is best for you, and then drive hard to achieve the results that are important to you. For some, that may mean settling quickly, for others that may mean going the distance. Whichever avenue you choose, you can count on a skilled wrongful termination attorney from our firm to aggressively advocate for your best interests. 

The Impact of a Wrongful Termination on The Employee

When someone is wrongfully terminated, it often means much more than the loss of a job. There is, of course, the sudden, unplanned loss of income. They may also lose friendships and other work-related relationships.  

There is also the challenge of finding a new job, complicated by the fact that you were terminated. You cannot rely on your prior employer for a reference, and you will need to explain to prospective employers why you were let go. 

Meanwhile, your bills are coming due and you need to take care of yourself and your family. The financial pressure is intense and you can quickly feel overwhelmed. Feelings of anxiety, depression, frustration, hopelessness, and rage are common for workers who are unfairly let go.

Fortunately, you do not need to give up or give in. You can take back control of your life and your career by hiring a dedicated wrongful termination attorney. They can review your case and explain your options. They can identify where your employer broke the law and explain what remedies are available to you, including monetary damages and even reinstatement. They can help you choose the best path forward so that your termination is just a difficult moment on your way to something better. The sooner you contact a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer, the sooner you can start putting your termination behind you. 

Understanding Wrongful Termination

To put it simply, wrongful termination is when you are fired by your employer for an illegal reason. The last part is critical – you must be able to prove that your termination violated the law in some way. It is not enough that your termination was unfair or unexpected, or that it caused you tremendous personal or financial hardship. 

While some cases are obvious, wrongful termination can be difficult to identify. Many employees do not realize they have been wrongfully terminated. In fact, your employer may not even realize that you were terminated in violation of law. 

If you believe that you were unjustly terminated, the best thing to do is contact a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer. They can review your case and determine whether you were wrongfully terminated and explain what options you have for holding your former employer accountable. 

California Wrongful Termination Law

Employment law is one of the few areas of the law that is subject to both federal and state law. Generally speaking, California state law provides broader protections for workers than federal law. Here are some of the key laws that protect employees from being wrongfully terminated: 

  • The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) – this is California’s main statute prohibiting discrimination and harassment in the workplace. Under this law, employers are prohibited from terminating employees for discriminatory reasons or in retaliation for complaining about harassment or assisting in a harassment or discrimination investigation. 
  • Labor Code Section 1102.5 LC – this is California’s main whistleblower protection law. It prohibits employers from terminating employees for informing the police or the government about their employer’s unlawful or illegal activities. It also protects workers who cooperate in government investigations concerning their employer’s unlawful or illegal activities
  • California Family Rights Act (CFRA) – this statute protects workers who need to take time off for medical reasons or to take care of a family member. Workers who are terminated for taking medical leave or for complaining about CFRA violations may have a wrongful termination claim. 
  • California contract law – there is a variety of statutes and decisional law that govern contracts in California. If you are terminated in violation of a written or implied contract, you may be able to pursue a wrongful termination claim. 

It may seem obvious to you that you were wrongfully terminated, but you need to identify exactly how your employer violated the law. A Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer can identify how your employer broke the law and what your options are for recovery. 

A Los Angeles Wrong Termination Lawyer Explains How Do You Prove Wrongful Termination?

As a wrongfully terminated employee, it is up to you to prove your legal rights. So, how do you prove wrongful termination? The answer to this question depends on your circumstances. When you hire one of our  attorneys to represent you, your lawyer will determine what evidence is available. This may include evidence of:

1. Illegal Termination (i.e., Discriminatory Termination)

In some cases, the evidence will point toward illegal termination. Despite their efforts to avoid doing so, employers will often create a paper trail that terminated employees can use to prove that they are victims of discrimination, retaliation, or termination on other unlawful grounds. This includes evidence such as:

  • Emails;
  • Employment records that show different treatment of other employees;
  • Internal memos;
  • Positive performance reviews; and
  • Text messages.

In addition to these forms of documentary evidence, our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys may be able to use circumstantial evidence to establish your claim. 

2. Mixed-Motive Termination

Wrongful termination cases can also involve what is known as mixed-motive termination. This is when an employee’s termination is based on both legitimate and illegitimate considerations. Assuming your employer had valid grounds to terminate your employment for cause (i.e., a serious breach of conduct in the workplace), if discrimination or retaliation was a substantial motivating factor in your employer’s decision to fire you, you may possess a valid wrongful termination claim under California or federal law.

3. Constructive Discharge

The third common type of wrongful termination case involves what is known as a constructive discharge. A constructive discharge occurs when an employer creates or fosters working conditions that are so intolerable that an employee has no realistic option but to resign. Employers will often try to get unwanted employees to quit, assuming that this protects them against liability for wrongful termination. But, this is not the case, and an experienced Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney may be able to use various forms of evidence to establish your right to compensation.

Damages in a Wrongful Termination Employment Law Case

If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, you may be eligible to recover the following:

  • Lost Wages: Lost wages are income you would have earned had you not been wrongfully terminated. 
  • Emotional Distress: Wrongful termination can cause you to suffer emotional distress such as depression, anxiety, and mental anguish. 
  • Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are damages awarded to punish the wrongdoer for outrageous behavior as well as encourage others not to follow in their footsteps. 

Do You Have Questions? Our Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Lawyers Can Help You Get Answers

If you have been wrongfully terminated, you may feel completely overwhelmed. You may not even know what questions to ask. With years of experience in handling wrongful termination claims, our attorneys can provide you with the information you need to find a way forward. 

How Much Is a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Worth in California?

Of course, the value of your case will vary according to several factors. Some estimate that wrongful termination claims in California will typically settle for anywhere between $5,000 and $100,000. That said, many wrongful termination verdicts in California exceed $1 million. 

Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case, your wrongful termination claim may consist of the following components: 

  • Your future lost wages;
  • Your withheld wages;
  • Your lost benefits;
  • Job search expenses;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Punitive damages;
  • Damage to your reputation;
  • Attorney’s fees and costs;

The value of your case will be the total of each of these components. Our experienced wrongful termination lawyers can review your case and provide an estimate of what your case may be worth. 

Can You Sue for Wrongful Termination in California?

Yes, you can file a lawsuit in California if you were wrongfully terminated. Before you file suit, however, you need to remember that you will need to prove your case. No matter how certain you are or how obvious it may seem that you were terminated, you will need to be able to introduce evidence supporting your claim that you were fired in violation of the law.  

How Do I Fight Wrongful Termination in California?

Hundreds, if not thousands, of employees are wrongfully terminated across California every year. Despite increasing awareness and stricter laws, employers continue to illegally terminate employees every day. And tragically, most employees do not understand their rights or what they can do about it. 

How Can I Tell if a Termination Is Wrongful?

Most employees know when they have been unfairly terminated, even if it is just a hunch. Even when it is obvious, however, you will need proof. A skilled lawyer will know what evidence you will need to prove that you were wrongfully terminated and how to get it. 

Do I Qualify for Unemployment Benefits?

You should qualify for unemployment benefits even if you were fired unless your employer can prove that you were fired due to misconduct or for cause. You should apply for unemployment benefits even if you think your employer may object because you may be entitled to a hearing. A skilled wrongful termination attorney can guide you through the process. 

Is It Hard to Prove Wrongful Termination in California?

Whether you are pursuing a discrimination or sexual harassment claim, you will need evidence to prove your case. Wrongful termination cases are no exception. In some cases, there may be overwhelming evidence that the worker was terminated in violation of law, whereas in other cases evidence may be difficult to obtain. A Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer will know what evidence you need and how to get it. 

Is There a Maximum Payout for Wrongful Termination in California?

There is no limit as to what compensation can be awarded in a wrongful termination case in California. Generally speaking, the payout is limited to compensation for your financial losses and other harms you suffered. Keep in mind that your damages could include more than just your lost wages, but compensation for things like personal or career counseling as well as your mental anguish as a result of your termination. 

In some cases, however, the worker may be entitled to punitive damages. These are monetary damages that are intended to punish the employer and dissuade other employers from engaging in similar conduct. These damages are available in cases where the employer acted with malice or reckless indifference. An experienced Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer can provide you with an estimate of what your claim is worth. 

What Are Some Examples Of Retaliation?

Here are some common examples of retaliation: 

  • An employee is fired for filing a complaint with HR that they are being harassed or discriminated against
  • An employee is fired for cooperating with an investigation of their employer’s wrongful conduct
  • An employee is fired for reporting their employer’s unlawful conduct to the authorities
  • An employee is fired for filing a wage claim 

Keep in mind that retaliation is not limited to termination. Any adverse action taken against an employee for exercising their rights may be considered retaliatory and a violation of federal and state law. 

Does an Employer Need Grounds to Fire Me with an At-Will Employment Agreement?

The answer to this question depends on what is contained in the agreement. While California is an “at-will” employment state, their ability to terminate an employee may be limited by any contracts they enter into with an employee. If your employment agreement states that an employee can only be terminated “for cause” or specifies conditions for termination, then your employer must have grounds for firing you. 

When Do I Need a Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Lawyer?

You should hire a lawyer if you believe you have been terminated in violation of your rights. You can even hire a lawyer if you have not yet been terminated but believe it will happen soon –  they can prepare you for what can happen and help you move forward with minimal delay. 

How Long Should I Wait Before Hiring a Wrongful Termination Attorney?

The statute of limitations for wrongful termination claims is two years in California. However, the longer you wait to pursue your claim, the harder it will be to gather the evidence you need. 

As a result, we recommend that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible following your termination. The sooner you contact a knowledgeable wrongful termination attorney, the more likely your case will be successful. 

What Are the Three Elements of a Retaliation Claim?

In order to pursue a retaliation claim, you must be able to prove three things: 

  1. You engaged in a protected activity; 
  2. Your employer terminated you or took other adverse action against you; and
  3. There is a causal connection between your protected activity and your termination or other adverse action. 

How Do You Respond to an Unfair Termination?

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do without help. You should be careful not to admit to any wrongdoing or anything that may give the appearance that your termination was justified. You should comply with your employer’s instructions concerning leaving the premises and winding down your job. Do not disparage your employer or take similar adverse action against them. The best thing to do is contact a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer to discuss your options for taking legal action against your employer. 

Let a Qualified Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Lawyer Review Your Contract

One of the ways that employers get around the breach of contract exception is to offer employment contracts that expressly state that the employee can be terminated at any time and without cause. If you have been offered a job with a contract, you, therefore, need to watch out for language that states your employment is “at-will.” You may want to explore the possibility of negotiating a contract that allows you to be terminated only for cause. 

Document Your Case

If you see your termination fast approaching or were just let go, the most important thing you can do is document your termination. To the extent possible, you want to gather the following information that could be evidence in support of a wrongful termination claim: 

  • The date and time that you were terminated
  • Any written notice that you were given concerning your termination
  • Copies of your pay stubs and any other records concerning your compensation and benefits
  • Copies of any email, text messages, or other correspondence related to your termination
  • Copies of your performance reviews
  • A copy of your employee handbook
  • A copy of your employment contract and any other documents concerning your job such as a description of your job duties
  • A list of other employees who may have information that would support your case

You also should keep detailed notes surrounding your termination, including the following: 

  • Notes concerning whatever was verbally communicated to you concerning your termination or at any other pertinent times
  • Notes concerning any incidents or events that you believe were related to your termination
  • Notes concerning any statements made by your co-workers concerning your termination

Gathering all of this information can seem overwhelming, especially when you have been fired. An employment attorney can help you gather the information you need so that you can focus on getting back on your feet. 

How Long Does a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Take in California?

Several different factors will affect how long it will take to resolve your wrongful termination lawsuit. These factors can include the following: 

  • How willing your employer is to face the expenses of litigation and the potential harm to their reputation
  • How strong the evidence is supporting your case
  • How egregious your employer’s actions were in terminating you
  • Whether your case involves any unique legal issues
  • The facts and circumstances surrounding your termination

It is also necessary to understand how your lawsuit can be resolved. There are three main options: 

  1. Your case is settled out of court.
  2. Your case goes to trial, and the jury rules in your favor. 
  3. You appeal the verdict and win on appeal.

Many cases can be settled without even filing a lawsuit. This may require some willingness to compromise on your part. Your Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer can guide what would be a fair settlement and when you should go to court. 

What To Expect When You Contact a Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Law Firm

When you contact a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer about your claim, there are several steps your attorney will take to assess your legal rights—and assert your legal rights if warranted. Here is an overview of the major steps in the process:

  • Determining if You Are (or Were) an “At-will” Employee – One of the first steps your attorney will take is to determine if you are (or were) an “at-will” employee. This is the first step toward determining what options you have available.
  • Gathering As Much Information as Possible – When you meet with your Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer, they will gather as much information from you as possible. You should be prepared to discuss your termination openly, and you should bring any documents or files that you believe may be relevant to your claim.
  • Assessing Your Rights Under California and Federal Law – Based on the evidence you provide, your attorney will assess your rights under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and federal law. Several laws protect employees against wrongful termination, and your attorney will need to determine which laws apply to your situation.
  • Assessing the Value of Your Wrongful Termination Claim – Along with assessing how to file your wrongful termination claim, your lawyer will also assess how much he or she can seek on your behalf. Wrongful termination often entitles former employees to substantial damages, but the amount you can recover will depend on your circumstances.
  • Deciding Where to File Your Wrongful Termination Claim – Based on the laws that apply, your attorney will decide whether to file your claim with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Filing with the DFEH or EEOC is required before filing a lawsuit in court in most cases.
  • Obtaining Evidence from Your Employer – Once your attorney initiates your claim, they will be able to seek additional evidence from your employer. This is often a key step in the process, and it will spur settlement negotiations in many cases.
  • Pursuing a Wrongful Termination Settlement – If you have a wrongful termination claim, pursuing a settlement may be the best option for resolving your claim as quickly as possible. If settling makes sense, your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf, advise you regarding any settlement opportunities, and explain exactly how much you will take home if you accept an offer.
  • Going to a Hearing (or Trial) if Necessary – Finally, if necessary, your Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer will take your wrongful termination claim to a hearing (or trial). This is a lengthy process, and if your dispute gets to this stage, you will need an experienced attorney who is prepared to fight for the financial compensation you deserve.

Regardless of the facts of your case, you only have a limited amount of time to assert your legal rights. This is true whether you have a claim under California or federal law. As a result, if you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, we strongly encourage you to contact us right away.

Contact An Experienced Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Lawyer To Learn More

If you have been illegally fired, the best thing you can do to fight your wrongful termination is to talk with an employment attorney who has experience in handling wrongful termination cases. As discussed above, they can help you gather the evidence you need to build the strongest possible case. They can also evaluate your case, explain your options, and guide you through the process of holding your employer accountable. In short, your Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer can help you find the way forward to better opportunities and put this experience behind you. 

Being wrongfully terminated causes undue mental and financial stress. Contact our firm today by filling out our intake form. Our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys look forward to providing you with the unparalleled representation you deserve.