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Wrongful Termination 101: Laws that Protect You as an At-will Employee

Posted by attorney Rodney Mesriani

California employees are protected by several laws from wrongful termination. Accordingly, it is their obligation and duty to familiarize themselves with these laws to avoid being subjected to the wrongdoings of their employers. Additionally, employees must know that even though they are on an “at-will" contract, they have the right to question their employers in case they get fired, especially if the termination was in clear violation of a labor law. The following are the laws in California that prohibit employers from wrongfully terminating an employee: Employment discrimination laws – There are several workplace bias laws that prohibit California employers from terminating an employee as a form of discrimination and/or retaliation. These laws are: • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) • Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) • Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) • California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) Under the said laws, a termination of an employee can be deemed unlawful if it was done as a result of employment discrimination. Furthermore, pursuant to the said laws, employers cannot terminate an employee if he or she files a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Employee Polygraph Protection Act – Under this federal law, employers are strictly prohibited from terminating an employee who refuses to undergo a polygraph or lie-detector exam. Employees who were terminated by refusing to be subjected to polygraph exam have the right to claim for wrongful termination lawsuit against their employers. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) – This law does not only require employers to provide their employees with safe work environment, but also to refrain from firing employees who complain about their company’s violations of safety codes. Accordingly, employees who file a complaint with the agency protected by OSH Act, meaning their employers cannot retaliate against them by terminating them. Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – Under this federal law, employers cannot retaliate against employees who rightfully use their FMLA benefits. FMLA assures employees that they can take advantage of their leave benefits and still be secured with their job. If you are Los Angeles employee who became a victim of wrongful termination, it is advisable for you to file a case against your employer. Even if you have a basic knowledge about the fundamentals of wrongful termination, it is still best to consult with a Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyer to be guided accordingly.

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