What do need to prove for a valid wrongful termination case?

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What do need to prove for a valid wrongful termination case?

I had been repeatedly written up for minor issues and non-issues in an attempt to get me to quit. When I refused to walk away they found something 1 of the people under me had failed to do, so they blamed me as dept manager for not noticing. I was terminated. I have documented policy violations of much more serious issues that this person has outright ignored or committed himself that shows he selectively targeted me to try to get me to leave. He has done this to 2 other managers that I am friends with as well. I am curious if there is a case worth pursuing here?

Asked on August 22, 2011 California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You may not have a case. The problem is, if you don't have an employment contract (including union agreement), you are an employee at will, and employees at will may be disciplined or terminated at any time, for any reason or no reason at all. There is no general obligation to treat employees fairly or the same, and s supervisor may "target" an employee to get rid of him or her. In essence, if you are employee at will, you have almost no rights.

Here are the exceptions:

1) If there is an employment agreement, its terms in regards to grounds or process for termination must be followed.

2) You cannot be discriminated against because of your race, sex, religion, age over 40, disability (federal law) or national origin, marital status, sexuaul orientation, or certain other genetic characteristics (CA); but if the behavior is not motivated by one of these, it is legal.

3) You cannot suffer retaliation for having brought a protected claim or complaint (e.g. for illegal discrimination per 2), above; for an overtime violation) or for using a protected right or benefit (e.g. getting Worker's Compensation; using FMLA leave).

But apart from the above, you may be terminated if you are an employee at will, unfortunately.


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