At-will Employment LC 2922S
The majority of institutions in the state of California has adopted the “At-will” employment system. This means that, according to California's Labor Code LC 2922, “An employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other. Employment for a specified term means employment for a period greater than one month.”
The employer can terminate a worker on his/her jurisdiction, and at the same time, the employee can opt to end his/her employment on his/her accords. This implied that either the employer or the employee could file for the termination of work without specifying their reason as long as they follow the proper procedures. That is to notify the party involved about the course of action at least fifteen (15) days or a month before the last counted working day on the job. That period of time is intended to settle everything that needed to be resolved and to find a replacement, if required, for the recently vacated position.
This amount of freedom given to the employer, however, has a limit. Even if the statute declared that the employer has the power to terminate any employee that he/she sees fit, there are notable exceptions to this rule. An employer cannot fire an employee if his/her reasons for termination are included in the following conditions:
- Protected Characteristics – An employer cannot fire an employee because of their race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
“Jeremiah is a customer service representative. When his team was assigned to a new supervisor, he was fired because the new superior hates people of color.”
“Mark, a 30-year-old office worker, came out of the closet to reveal that he is bisexual. One week later, his boss handed him a notice of termination claiming that his team cannot function properly with a gay person around.”
- Political Ideologies – An employer cannot fire an employee because of their political beliefs and/or affiliations.
“Isiah has been working in a firm for 2 years. The owners were affiliated with the Republican party and are hardcore republicans. When they found out that Isiah was a democrat, they fired him.”
- Worker's rights – An employer cannot fire an employee because he/she demanded for privileges that he/she is rightfully entitled to like leaves (e.g., sick leave, maternity/paternity leave) or compensations (e.g., raises or promotions).
“Angela is expecting to have her baby soon as she was nearing her due date. When she filed for a maternity leave, her employer fired her on the grounds that her attempt to take a leave from work was seen as career neglect.”
Asking for promotion
“Dwight has been working for a sales company for 20 years. He is one of the best salesmen in their branch. After years of hard work, he finally mustered up the courage to ask for a promotion. After forwarding his application, he was fired from his current position and was kicked out of the company due to alleged insubordination.
- Implied Contract – An employer cannot fire the employee for any reason other than the mentioned above as long it has been implied in the contract.
- Whistleblowing – LC 1102.5
Whistleblower Protection LC 1102.5
The California whistleblower protection laws, specifically LC 1102.5, prohibits the employer from firing his/her employee because he/she reported an alleged violation or acted as a witness to the violations committed by the company or any of its other employees. The statute aims to protect:
- Employee/s who reported unfair/unjust working condition/s (i.e., violations against proper compensation/salary or oppressive work environment
- Employee/s who reported a suspected criminal activity by his/her employer to the proper authority;
- Employee/s who reported or acted as witnesses against violations done by his/her employer, supervisors, or other employees to a law enforcement agency;
This Whistleblower protection laws also protect workers from being subjected to workplace retaliation. Whistleblower retaliation is when the employer deliberately attempts to make the workplace conditions hard for the employee who acted as a whistleblower.
Being subjected to wrongful termination is a hassle because it may waste the employee's effort and hard work. That is why, to deal with such a burden, the best course of action the victim can take is to seek professional legal support from our experienced pool of lawyers. With the help of a credible attorney, the victim might be able to file a successful lawsuit that asks for reasonable compensation to cover for the following:
- Rightful Wage and Benefits
- Physical, Emotional, and Punitive Damages
- Legal Fee and Court Costs
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