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Can I Be Fired for Looking for Another Job?

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Many people choose to start looking for a new job while still working for their current (and soon-to-be-former) boss. The reason why workers are “job hunting” while still working for their employer is obvious: They want to minimize the amount of time they will be unemployed once they leave their job.

However, if your employer finds out that you are looking for another job while still working for them, they may fire you. If this happens to you, you may ask, “Is this even legal? Can my employer fire me for looking for a new job?

Typically, yes. Your California employer can legally terminate your employment because you are actively searching for a new job. However, it is essential to discuss the details of your case with a Los Angeles wrongful-termination attorney to determine whether you could sue your employer for the firing.

Is it illegal to fire an employee for looking for another job?

The most common ways your boss could find out you are looking for a new job include if you:

  • Conduct job interviews via Skype or Zoom at work
  • Take calls from prospective new employers at work
  • Leave early or come in late
  • Do not show up for work or call in sick too often
  • Take very long lunch breaks
  • Tell your coworkers about your search

Because employees in California are employed on an “at-will” basis (meaning either party can terminate the working relationship at any time for any reason), firing an employee for looking for another job is legal under California Labor Code § 2922 — though there may be exceptions.

For instance, if you were fired for a discriminatory reason, the firing could constitute wrongful termination. Also, it is illegal to fire employees who are protected by an employment or union agreement. Have a skilled employment lawyer in Los Angeles read the terms of your contract to determine whether it protects you from being fired for looking for a new job.

When can I sue my employer for firing me for looking for a new job?

You might have grounds to file a wrongful-termination lawsuit against your employer for firing you after looking for other jobs if the firing was discriminatory. Examples of this type of discrimination include:

  • Your employer violated the provisions in your employment or union agreement
  • Your employer terminated your employment in retaliation for filing a complaint or exercising a protected right
  • You were fired for refusing to participate in an illegal activity that was encouraged or directed by your employer
  • Your employer illegally denied wages, benefits, or other job-related rights
  • You were fired based on a protected characteristic such as race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, age, gender identity, sex, religion or disability

If you believe that your California employer violated any laws or provisions in your employment/union contract in firing you for looking for another job, do not hesitate to contact a wrongful-termination attorney to discuss your case. Schedule a consultation with our employment lawyers at Obagi Law Group, P.C. to talk about your particular situation by calling 424-284-2401.

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