Yes, At-Will Employees Can Sue For Wrongful Termination
An old stereotype about Los Angeles is that it is overrun with aspiring movie stars working as restaurant servers while waiting for their big break, never making career plans that last beyond tomorrow until they eventually decide to head back East for a less-glamorous job with more stability.
These days, gig work is quickly becoming the rule rather than the exception — and not only in Los Angeles but throughout California and the other 49 states. Getting an employment contract that guarantees you a regular paycheck for years is nearly as elusive as getting a big break in Hollywood and becoming a star. Most employers hire employees on an at-will basis, where they have the right to fire the employee at any time, for any reason they choose. At-will employees still have the right to sue their former employers for wrongful termination, however, if the termination of their employment was a matter of employment discrimination. If you were unjustly fired from an at-will job, contact a Los Angeles wrongful termination employment lawyer.
What Is At-Will Employment?
The employees who have employment contracts guaranteeing that their employment will continue until a certain date are the lucky few; at-will employment arrangements are more common. In an at-will employment arrangement, the employee is free to quit at any time, and the employer at any time is free to terminate the employee’s employment, even if the employee has consistently done their job well and has not engaged in any misconduct. Giving two weeks or more notice is a polite way to end the employment relationship, but it is not a legal requirement. In some cases, the employer notifies the employee of the at-will nature of the employment relationship by indicating so in the employee’s hiring paperwork or in the employee handbook.
At-Will Employment Does Not Give Employers the Right to Discriminate
Even in an at-will employment relationship, some reasons for terminating the employee’s employment are still prohibited. For example, the employer cannot fire you because of your race, gender, age, religion or nationality. The employer also cannot fire you for engaging in a protected activity, such as requesting reasonable accommodations for a disability, voting in an election, reporting misconduct at your place of employment to a regulatory body, serving on a jury when called to do so, or requesting an unpaid leave pursuant to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Firing an employee under these circumstances counts as wrongful termination of employment. Your employer may give you a flimsy excuse as to why they fired you, but if you think it was discrimination or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity, you should contact a lawyer.
Speak With a Los Angeles Employment Discrimination Lawyer
An employment discrimination lawyer can help you stand up for your rights even if your employment is on an at-will basis instead of through a contract that guarantees you a job for a certain length of time. Contact Obagi Law Group, P.C. in Los Angeles to discuss your situation by calling 424-284-2401.