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Companies that employ workers in California are subject to both federal and state regulations regarding their treatment of workers. Workers have certain rights, such as the right to a safe and appropriate work environment. Workers typically also have protections regarding when and how their employer can terminate their position with the company.

When an employer uses termination as a form of retaliation for a worker reporting harassment or when a company ends someone’s contract before the contract is actually over, that could lead to claims of wrongful termination.

What situations could result in wrongful termination claims?

Wrongful termination is any firing that violates either the law or a worker’s basic rights. As such, there are many different situations that potentially constitute wrongful termination. Firing someone prior to the end of their formal work contract is a common example of a wrongful termination.

In order for an employer to legally end someone’s employment prior to the end of their contract, there must be documentation of wrongdoing or failure to perform on the part of the employee. Companies typically need to have taken disciplinary action in the past. If your employer terminates you without prior disciplinary action or if they have inaccurately documented the circumstances that led to your termination, you could have a claim for wrongful termination.

Retaliation is a common reason for wrongful termination

Employers shouldn’t punish workers who advise management or human resources that they’ve experienced abuse, harassment, discrimination or a violation of safety standards or employment law. Additionally, workers who report a company’s illegal behavior to the affected party or a government oversight agency also have protection from their employer trying to punish them for doing what is right.

Sadly, companies often do choose to punish those who expose wrongdoing, rather than those who commit it. If you intend to file a complaint or report your employer, documenting your concerns and how your employer responds to you can protect you from wrongful termination and other forms of retaliation that could impact your career.

An unexpected termination could impact both your immediate financial security and your long-term earning potential, as the loss of a job could mean a period of unemployment and reduced earning potential. Holding your employer accountable for the impact of their actions on your life can protect your finances and those who might work for the company in the future.