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What You Need to Know About California Employment Laws

California workers who are classified as “at will” workers may find themselves at risk of being terminated from their workplace for any reason even if it is an unfair one or for no reason at all. Usually, an employee who has been working for an organization for less than five years and doesn’t have an employment contract could be considered an “at will” employee under the California employment laws.

To successfully file a wrongful termination claim, the termination must have violated some fundamental right. Simply put, this means that some federal statute or state regulation or constitutional provision must have been violated by the termination. For example, when the company orders an employee to do something which is against regulations, the law, ordinance or statute, the employer cannot lawfully fire that worker for refusing to do this kind of thing. One may pursue this in cases such as when an employee complains about what they consider is a violation of the law like failure to cover overtime, late payment of wages or workplace safety problems and is fired due to this.

Another breach that will lead to a wrongful termination claim comes up when the employee’s accurate reason for letting go of the worker is dependent on age, the employee’s sex, handicap, religion or national origin. Although such discriminations are under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, they can also result in a common law claim as they can be in breach of the public policy. Similarly, this also is true for termination made in retaliation for an employee’s opposition to or complaints about harassment or discrimination on any one of the protected classifications listed above. Consider the example when an employee complain about sexual harassment and is criticized at work, or is written up, disciplined or fired for it. In such a case, they’d have a claim for retaliation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act as well as at common law.
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Other terminations may be unlawful as they are expressly prohibited under different laws. Some of these range from the firing of workers centered on sexual orientation or those who take maternity or medical leave. Employees who need to take leave as a result of a serious medical condition or must care for a parent or a child that has such a condition, are protected under what the law states. The protection under the law applies if one has worked for more than 1250 hours throughout the previous year or the organization has more than 50 workers within a seventy-five-mile radius or if they have worked for the company for more than a year. State and Federal laws are enacted to protect workers against wrongful termination. Normally, these laws prohibit termination based on race, age, gender, nationality, religion and disability.Policies: 10 Mistakes that Most People Make