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When is it illegal to fire someone?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2021 | Wrongful Termination |

Employers may have a lot of responsibilities on their plates depending on the size of their companies. Regardless of how stretched thin an employer feels, they need to know the laws that apply to their industry and abide by them.

California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) officials drafted a report in 2019 in which they highlighted some of the more common reasons why the state’s employers put themselves on the receiving end of wrongful termination lawsuits. CalChamber compiled this report in the hope that California workers would better understand when their dismissal may be unlawful.

Retaliation and firing for whistleblowing is illegal

The CalChamber report reminded workers that both California and federal laws protect their right to sound the alarm if they discover employers’ illicit practices. These same laws prohibit employers from taking retaliatory action against workers, including firing them, making reports, or attending meetings or hearings regarding such matters.

Discriminatory employee dismissals

There are various types of discrimination that are unlawful according to either California or federal law. These laws protect workers belonging to various protected classes, including:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Crime victim status
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy

These laws also afford anti-discrimination protections to individuals based on their race, age, religion, gender and national origin.

Any instance in which an employer dismisses you for one of the above-referenced reasons may warrant a wrongful termination claim.

Firing employees for suspected drug use

CalChamber’s article also highlights how many California employers make the mistake of letting their workers go simply because they suspect that they’re drug users.

The way California employment laws are written is that employers can request that their workers undergo drug testing in certain instances. However, it’s unlawful for employers to subject their workers to random drug testing and use a positive test as grounds to let them go.

California law prohibits employers from firing employees because there’s an impending manufacturing plant closure. State law also makes it unlawful for employers to dismiss workers who must attend jury duty, a court hearing, or who need to carry out public or legislative services requirements.

A firing can make it challenging to receive unemployment benefits and future jobs and leaves others vulnerable to suffering the same fate. You owe it to yourself and others to hold employers who wrongfully terminate workers liable for their actions.