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Termination Without Cause

No employer should terminate you from your workplace without just cause. If you have been let go at work without a lawful reason,  you may have the right to file a lawsuit against your employer for damages.

 There can be several reasons why an employer chooses to let go of his or her employees. There are protected reasons under California law, but there are also unlawful reasons that spark the basis for unemployment claims or lawsuits. 

Employment law can get very complex, especially if an employee is not fully aware of their rights and privileges as a worker. To determine your eligible benefits, contact our employees to schedule a one-on-one consultation and review your employment contract. Usually, employees sign an employment contract before beginning their work.

Many may not read the fine print, and sign anyway to begin working. But, our experienced employees conduct in-depth investigations and review employment contracts thoroughly to make sure that our clients are not taken advantage of.

According to the Federal Reserve of Economic Data, around 500,000 California employees have lost their jobs in the first quarter of 2024, for various reasons. Although employers have a valid reason for letting go of their employees, there are always circumstances where employers unlawfully take advantage of their employees or terminate their employees without a lawful cause.

California Employment Laws

Generally, California is an at-will state. This means that when it comes to employees and employers, both could leave the relationship at any given point at their will. An employee could end their employment at will, and an employer could let go of the employee at any time at will. This type of relationship has its negatives and positives.  For example, if an employee no longer wants to work at a company, they are free to leave anytime. But this also means that an employer is free to let go of the employee at any time.

However, sometimes employees are bound under an employment contract. An employment contract may specify exactly how long the employee is protected to work, and the job responsibilities that are expected from the employee. This usually occurs in the sales business. For example, sales people have certain quotas to meet and are protected through yearly contracts. This means that within a single year, as long as the salesperson is meeting their quota, they cannot be let go.

What does termination without cause mean?

Termination without cause means that an employer lets go of an employee without a reason.  For example, John’s manager pulls John aside in the room and tells him “ we no longer need you working at this company.” This is a vague statement and does not give an exact reason why john has now been let go.

Termination with cause means an exact reason was given as to why the employee was let go from the company. For example, John’s manager pulls John aside and tells him “as a salesperson, you have failed to meet your monthly quota three months in a row, therefore we are letting you go.”

Could my employer just fire me on the spot?

Unfortunately, given that California is an at-will employment state, this means that an employer could just let go of an employee for any reason at any point. For example, if you walk into work one day and your employer fires you without prior notice, it could still be qualified as lawful. No notice is required, except under employment contracts.

 For example, if your employment contracts specified that you employment is for a single year, and you have been let go prior to completing that year, then you may have a claim for wrongful termination.

What should I do if I have been terminated without cause?

If you suspect that your employer has terminated you without cause, we recommend that you take the below steps:

  •  Make sure you have your employment contract readily available. Usually, many employees may forget that they’ve even signed a contract prior to taking on the job.  The employment contract specifies exact details of what qualifies as wrongful termination, and the length of time that your employment is for. If you have any difficulties reading the employment contract, give us a call. Our top-rated Heidari law wrongful termination attorneys will walk you through your employment contract to look for any inconsistencies.
  •  Gather evidence about the real reason for your termination. If your employer terminated your employment without a reason, but you suspect it may be because of retaliation,  this may be a wrongful termination. For example, if you spoke up a couple of months ago and reported your employer to human resources for embezzling money, and now you are being wrongfully terminated without a specific reason, this may point to termination without cause.
  •  Contact a California wrongful termination attorney.  A wrongful termination attorney will review your case, and decide the next helpful steps for you.
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What are lawful reasons for termination?

  • Improper performance: an employer can let go of an employee based on the employee’s improper performance, such as substance abuse, assault at work, or damaging company property.
  •  Failing to meet contract quotas: if an employee does not meet the contract specifications, then an employer has the right to breach the contract.

Am I entitled to severance pay at work?

If you have been let go without cause, you may be entitled to severance pay. Severance pay is a compensation package offered to employees by companies to compensate the employee for a specific time after termination. The amount of time and the amount of compensation depends on the specific company.

 Could I recover compensation for the emotional distress caused by wrongful termination?

 In some cases, employees may feel distressed after being wrongfully terminated. For example, this is usually the case in instances where an employee has been harassed or assaulted at work, tries to report it, and instead is let go from their job. This could be a horrific experience to go through, and an employee may be able to recover from medical injuries, along with emotional distress.

Could I file a lawsuit for wrongful termination in california?

If you have been terminated without cause in California, you may have a right to file a lawsuit against your employer. But, it is very important to note that you must gather all relevant evidence to prove exactly why you have been let go, and why this reason is unlawful.

Wrongful Termination Attorneys: Know Your Rights

Our attorneys are available to help you get the compensation you need to move forward because we understand that being wrongfully terminated from your job could leave you financially devastated. You must have an experienced attorney on your side to investigate your wrongful termination cause.

Unfortunately, wrongful termination may be difficult to prove, especially if an employer cites a lawful reason for letting an employee go. Our attorneys will work tirelessly to make sure our clients get the compensation they deserve.

Schedule a one-on-one today to discuss your specific employment case and get started with the next best steps for you. You have the right to consult your attorney and review your employment contract to see if you qualify for any benefits, such as severance pay.

*** Disclaimer: This page, created by Heidari Law Group, is intended for educational purposes only and provides a broad overview of legal principles. It should not be considered specific legal advice. Your use of this site and review of this material does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Heidari Law or any of its members. Laws are subject to change, and therefore some information presented here may not reflect current legal standards. All logos and images on this site are the property of their respective owners and are used only for illustrative purposes; their presence does not indicate endorsement or affiliation. Please respect the copyright restrictions of these images and logos. If you have concerns about copyright infringement or require proper attribution, contact us immediately. We are committed to honoring intellectual property rights and will respond promptly to any issues.

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Sam Heidari

Sam Ryan Heidari

Sam Heidari is the founding principal of Heidari Law Group, a law firm specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, and employment law with offices in California and Nevada. Sam Heidari has been practicing law for over 11 years and handles a wide range of cases including car accidents, wrongful death, employment discrimination, and product liability. The Heidari Law Group legal firm is known for its comprehensive approach, handling cases from initial consultation through to final judgment. Sam Heidari is dedicated to community involvement and advocacy for civil liberties.

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