Wrongful Termination Attorneys
Absent a written employment contract that specifies a definite term of employment, employment in California is generally at the will of either the employer or employee. Despite this general rule, there are circumstances where the termination of an employee may be considered wrongful and give rise to a legal claim by the employee.
Modification of the “At Will” Relationship
Actions of the employer that may alter the nature of the employment relationship can be either:
- Express, or
Express modifications can be in the form of an employee handbook or manual, for example. An Irvine wrongful termination attorney could argue that the manual establishes the basis for firing an employee and that the employer must follow those procedures. Similarly, any oral declarations by the employer may implicitly establish that an employee shall not be terminated absent good cause.
If an Irvine wrongful termination attorney can establish a modification of the at-will nature of the relationship, under California law, good cause requires:
- A fair and honest basis for termination
- Acting in good faith
- Notice of the alleged misconduct and an opportunity for the employee to respond or cure the behavior
Public Policy Considerations
In addition to employer modifications of at will employment, California law has established the principle that an employee should not be threatened with termination in either of the following circumstances:
- The employee is expected to commit a crime or some other wrongdoing as part of the job
- The employee is expected to not report crimes or other wrongdoings to the proper authorities
Cause of Action
Therefore, absent a written contract that establishes the grounds for termination or some implied contract, an employer may fire an employee for any reason that is not illegal.
Contact an Irvine Wrongful Termination Lawyer for Legal Advice
The issues in wrongful termination are often complex and employers will go to great lengths to protect their interests. If you believe you have been terminated for anything less than good cause, you need to understand your rights and explore your options. Call the experienced team at Altus Law Firm at 949-346-3391.