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Do I have a case?

Livermore, CA |

My company fired me because "I'm not as dedicated to the company as I was when I first started". I was out of work M-Thu, have a doctors note, when I returned on Friday I was fired. I had talked to my boss on Wednesday and she told me when I return to work to bring a doctors note. Friday she told me that I was a no show Thursday. I had told her that I mis-understood what she had said, she then continued telling me about my lack of dedication. I have never been written up or told my perfomance was bad. Several months ago my desk had broke and left me with a big bruise and they did not pay me for the next day of not coming in becuase of my injury. Also I had a employee harrassing me for several months and I had mentioned it to my boss several times and nothing happend until I took it to HR.

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Attorney answers 4


There are missing facts here, so it is hard to tell whether you might have a viable case.

Lack of dedication and/or excessive absences would be valid grounds to terminate you.

However, in California, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an injured worker for filing a workers' compensation claim. Did you make or threaten to file a workers comp claim for injuries arising from the broken desk?

Frank W. Chen is licensed to practice law in the State of California. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.


It is important to understand that unless you have an employment agreement which restricts the ability of your employer to terminate your employment, you are probably considered an "at-will" employee, which means the employer can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason, not prohibited by law. For starters, you will need to review any correspondence which may have offered you the job, as well as any employment handbooks stating company policy.

If you are an at-will employee, you do not have a case, unless you have evidence to support the theory that your employer really fired you for an unlawful reason. Your post suggests some possible ulterior motives but there is not enough to go on with those facts alone. For example, an attorney might want to find out of you were eligible to take protected FMLA leave or whether you were sexually harassed by the employee you complained about. But this will require a consultation with an employment law attorney who will ask certain questions to determine if there is anything there.

However, if your boss simply did not believe you were dedicated enough, as stated, or there was an attendance problem or even a miscommunication between you and she, as an at-will employee, there is no basis for a case. If you believe there is more to the story, you should consult with an experienced employment law attorney in your area.

They say you get what you pay for, and this response is free, so take it for what it is worth. This is my opinion based on very limited information. My opinion should not be taken as legal advice. For true advice, we would require a confidential consultation where I would ask you questions and get your complete story. This is a public forum, so remember, nothing here is confidential. Nor am I your attorney. I do not know who you are and you have not hired me to provide any legal service. To do so would require us to meet and sign written retainer agreement. My responses are intended for general information only.


Your posting does not include enough facts to conclude that you have a wrongful termiantion case. California, like most states, is an "at will" employment state. An employer can terminate an employee for any reason or no reason. However, an employee may not be discharged for discriminatory reasons, such as race, gender, age, national origin, religion or sexual orientation. An employee also may not be discharged in retaliation for refusing to comply with an illegal directive of the employer, or for engaging in certain other protected activities, or if the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement provides that the employee can only be discharged for cause. As noted, your posting suggests possible ulterior motives but not enough evidence to suggest that your termination was for a prohibted reason. You may have more pertinent information, and may want to speak to an employee rights lawyer to more fully discuss your situation.

This response is for information purpose only and does not constitute a legal advice. This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.


Hello. There are a few critical facts thta are needed to establish whether you might have a legitimate claim, including the nature of the medical condition and your diagnosis that lead to you being off, whether you let your employer know prior to their decision to terminate you what your condition and limitations are, and a few other facts.


Arkady Itkin
San Francisco Employment Lawyer

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