In California, most employment is considered "at will". This type of employment follows the principle that either the employer or the employee may terminate the relationship at any time, for any reason. The only basic exception in "at-will" employment arrangements is that the termination may not be done for reasons which violate the law.
Employment that does not fall into the category of "at will" is not subject to the same restrictions. Therefore, it is crucial that you identify what type of employment arrangement you are involved in. In general, employment that is subject to a set period employment contract is not considered to be "at will", and termination can only happen in accordance with procedures outlined in the contract.
What are the Illegal Grounds for Terminating At Will Employment in California?
In the state of California, employee discrimination is the most common illegal ground for termination in an at-will employment. Employers are prohibited from terminating their employees on the basis of race, gender, religion, or nationality. San Francisco employers are further prohibited from firing at-will employees in order to retaliate against them for filing a legal discrimination claim or initiating an investigation of discrimination.
Also, the Family and Medical leave act prohibits employers from firing employees for having taken leave for family or medical reasons. Finally, employers are prevented from firing an employee because they have exercised a legal right, performed a legal obligation, or have refused to do something that is illegal.
Do I Need a California Attorney for My Wrongful Termination Case?
Attorneys in San Francisco, California may be able to inform you as to whether a wrongful termination has occurred, and can assist you in preparing the required documents for your case. There may also be unique or unfamiliar procedures, and an attorney can guide you through these as well.