Wrongful Termination

San Diego Wrongful Termination Attorneys

Picture of Lady Justice“Wrongful Termination” is a term that generally refers to a person being fired when they shouldn’t have been. Other similar terms include wrongful dismissal or wrongful discharge. These generally refer to the same issue or concept as wrongful termination. However, these all can be somewhat misleading phrases as many terminations that people think of as “wrongful” are not illegal. Just because an employee thinks that they have been wrongfully terminated doesn’t mean that an employer has violated any laws.

The law in this regard is very complicated and it can vary at the federal, state and local levels. Sometimes these laws may even seem to conflict with one another! The best thing to do is to contact an experienced and aggressive wrongful termination attorney who can listen to the facts of your case and help you determine whether or not you have a case.

Wrongful termination occurs when a person is fired on the basis of race, sex, ethnic origin, pregnancy, disability, religion, sexual orientation or medical condition. It can also occur when a person is fired for reporting an illegal act committed by his or her employer. California however and in most other states, employment is considered to be “at-will”. This means that an employer can fire its employee for almost any reason or, no reason. Most employees are surprised to learn this, but “at-will” employment gives employers the freedom to fire the employees that they feel are no longer performing, or due to economic reasons should they need to cut their overhead. But this rule does not apply in all circumstances. Employers are not allowed to violate employment laws, and therefore they cannot fire an employee if it is discrimination or if it violates a contract.

Wrongful termination occurs when a person is fired on the basis of race, sex, ethnic origin, pregnancy, disability, religion, sexual orientation or medical condition. It can also occur when a person is fired for reporting an illegal act committed by his or her employer. If you are a wrongful termination victim, you have rights. You also have the right to claim compensation for your lost wages, benefits and emotional distress. In some cases, punitive damages can be awarded.

Constructive Termination

Under certain circumstances, a worker may be able to resign his or her position and thereafter pursue a claim against his or her former employer even though they weren’t actually fired. The law allows such a course of action upon a showing that one’s working conditions were so intolerable that a reasonable employee under those specific circumstances would resign. Constructive termination lawsuits are not determined solely based upon how offensive or intolerable the working conditions were, but rather, whether a reasonable person would quit the job given the situation and working environment.

Typical constructive terminations stem from ongoing workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful wage and hour practices, or other illegal conduct by the employer. Regardless of the situation resulting in the constructive termination, whether caused by ongoing or intolerable sexual harassment, failure to pay wages, or unfair treatment concerning your religion, age or disability, we can give you a good idea of whether your claim for constructive termination is maintainable. Alternatively, we can assist you in ascertaining what other courses of action might be in the best interests of you and your family.

It is a good idea to consult an attorney before terminating your employment. Courts have held that the employment conditions necessary to support a claim of constructive discharge must be sufficiently egregious to overcome the normal motivation of a competent, diligent, and reasonable employee to remain on the job, to earn a livelihood and to serve the employer. The circumstances giving rise to constructive discharge must be severe or involve a continuous pattern before the working conditions will be deemed intolerable. Single, trivial or isolated acts are typically insufficient to support a constructive discharge claim. Even a poor performance rating or a demotion, accompanied by a reduction in pay, does not by itself trigger a constructive discharge.

One must consider his or her options carefully before quitting a job in reliance on having a potential constructive discharge claim in court. If you are thinking about terminating your employment but are unsure of your rights, you should speak to our experienced employment attorneys to discuss your situation. It is also a good idea to record or document your workplace issues so these can be discussed in greater detail. Our attorneys have achieved excellent results for clients who have been forced to quit their jobs by working conditions that no person should have to tolerate.

If you have specific questions we suggest you contact the experienced and aggressive employment attorneys at The Gould Firm. We are happy to discuss your case free of charge and answer any questions you may have. We are here to help.