Wrongful termination- Not all unfair terminations are considered "wrongful" under the law. Typically, a worker that has been working for the company for less than five (5) years, and has no written employment contract, is considered an "at will" Employee under California law. That means that the employee can be fired for any reason, even an unfair reason, or for no reason at all. It also means that the employee can quit for any reason at all.
the termination must violate some fundamental public policy. In simple terms, this means that some state or federal statute, regulation, or constitutional provision is implicated by the termination. For example, if the employer directs a worker to violate any law, ordinance, regulation or statute, the employer cannot legally fire that employee for refusing such a directive.
Additionally, if the employee complains about what he/she reasonably perceives as a violation of law, like late-payment of wages, failure to pay overtime, or workplace safety issues, and is fired in retaliation, that would also constitute an actionable claim.
A third type of public policy violation that would give rise to a wrongful termination claim arises when the employer’s true reason for firing the employee is based, even in part, on that employee’s race, age, gender, religion, disability, or national origin. Although such discrimination claims are covered under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), they also give rise to a common law claim for it in violation of public policy. The same would hold true for terminations made in retaliation for an employee’s opposition to, or complaints about, discrimination or harassment based on any of the aforementioned protected classifications. For example, an employee that complains of sexual harassment, and is then subjected to unwarranted work-related criticism, disciplined, written up, or fired, would have a claim for retaliation under FEHA as well as at common law. As a practical matter, however, the employer can recover more by suing under the statute than at common law; attorney’s fees are not recoverable on wrongful termination/public policy claims, but may be awarded under FEHA.
Other terminations are unlawful because they are expressly prohibited different statutes. Some of these include terminations of workers based on sexual orientation or those that take Family or Medical Leave. Workers who take leave because they have a serious medical condition, or must care for a parent or child that has such a condition, are protected by the law provided that they worked for the employer for more than one year, worked more than 1250 hours during the previous year, and the company has more than fifty (50) employees that work within a seventy five (75) mile radius.
EMOTIONAL DISTRESS DAMAGES