If I was let go from my job as an executive assistant a couple days ago but was not told the real reason why, do I have any legal recourse for wrongful termination ?

Today I was offered a 3 week severance and I was told it had nothing to do with my performance but I was let go because my position became obsolete. I was executive assistant to the CEO of the company though so when emails describing why I was actually dismissed were passed between the executives they came into my box. They describe explicitly that I was dismissed because other managers didn’t like me personally. I was never told there was a problem.

Asked on August 11, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since you do not mention a written employment contract, you presumably do not have one. (Most people don't.) Without a contract, you are an "employee at will" and may be terminated at any time, for any reason at all, including other employees or managers not liking you--and your employer does not have to tell you the true reason (they could try to spare your feelings, for example). There is no such thing as "wrongful termination" for an employee at will, unless you were--and believe you could prove that--you were terminated due to discrimination against you on the basis of protected characteristic, such as your race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since you do not mention a written employment contract, you presumably do not have one. (Most people don't.) Without a contract, you are an "employee at will" and may be terminated at any time, for any reason at all, including other employees or managers not liking you--and your employer does not have to tell you the true reason (they could try to spare your feelings, for example). There is no such thing as "wrongful termination" for an employee at will, unless you were--and believe you could prove that--you were terminated due to discrimination against you on the basis of protected characteristic, such as your race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability.


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