What To Know About Exceptions To "At-Will" Employment In California | Mann & Elias

At-Will Employment Laws

What To Know About Exceptions To “At-Will” Employment In CaliforniaWhen you lose your job, you lose more than your income. In some cases, you may feel as if you have lost your identity, which can lead to physical and mental health issues. But just as importantly, your employer has possibly damaged your chances of obtaining future employment, especially if it is brought to light that you were fired by your employer.

While most jobs in California are “at-will” positions, meaning an employer can fire an employee at any time, there are several exceptions to this rule. If you believe the circumstances surrounding your firing may be an exception to the “at-will” rule, make sure you meet with a Los Angeles workplace lawyer from Mann Elias to discuss your situation.

Implied Contract Exception

When examining exceptions to at-will employment, the implied contract exception is one that comes up on a frequent basis at Mann & Elias. Though an implied contract may not be in writing, it can still be considered legally binding. In these situations, employees who have been long-term employees of the business, or who have been told by their employer that they will have a job for the foreseeable future, may possibly have a case that is considered an exception to at-will employment.

If you have been with your employer for many years and were suddenly fired for no good reason, meet with an employee rights attorney for restaurant workers at Mann Elias.

Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

Once you are able to prove you were employed under either an implied or expressed contract, you may have a case for wrongful termination based on the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. With this, you and your lawyer will need to show your employer acted in bad faith that led to your firing.

For example, if you were fired in clear violation of your employer’s own personnel policies, to keep you from gaining certain benefits such as a pay raise, or due to your employer lying about the real reason they fired you, a wrongful termination lawsuit should be seriously considered.

Public Policy Exception

When a public policy exception is raised in a wrongful termination case, it alleges an employee was fired by their employer because they refused to break an existing law, violate a standing public policy, or because they chose to exercise certain legal rights or report an alleged violation of the law by their employer.

In any case, an employer firing an employee under any of these conditions is illegal. Even in situations where an employee is clearly an at-will employee and has no legally-binding implied or expressed employment contract, this exception may apply. If you were asked to do something illegal by your employer, refused, and were later fired, hold your employer accountable by hiring a lawyer from Mann & Elias to handle your case.

Fraud and Misrepresentation

Still another exception to at-will employment in California involves fraud and misrepresentation on the part of an employer. To prove a case of this nature, you will need to show your employer made fraudulent claims that led you to accept a job offer, only to find out later that your employer’s promises were empty. In addition, you must be able to show you suffered damages as a result of the fraud. This can be such things as if you gave up a high-paying job to take this new job, and then were left with little if any compensation for your efforts.

Should you now be facing such circumstances, don’t simply walk away and worry about what to do next. Instead, turn to an attorney for legal advice.

Can More than One Exception Apply to My Case?

Contrary to what many employees who were wrongfully terminated believe, there are many cases where more than one exception to the at-will employment rule may apply. For example, you may choose to sue your employer for not only violating public policy, but also for fraud and misrepresentation. If for any reason you believe your employer may have multiple violations regarding at-will employment, don’t stand back and let them get away with an unjust firing.

What if I Resigned from My Job?

If you think you will not be able to sue your employer for wrongful termination because you resigned from your job, think again. Thanks to what are known as “constructive discharge” laws in California, you would be allowed to sue your employer even if you resigned from your job instead of having been fired.

Under these laws, the State of California will assume that your employer created such unbearable working conditions that you had no other reasonable choice but to resign. However, though this assumption will be made by the state, you and your lawyer will still need hard evidence to prove your case. Though resigning from your job may make it a bit harder to win your wrongful termination case, it is by no means an impossible task. Therefore, make sure you discuss your situation in more detail with your legal counsel.

Since you know how hard it can be to find a new job, especially if you have been fired from your previous one, don’t allow your employer to send your life spiraling out of control due to a wrongful termination. To make sure you are compensated for your damages and ultimately allowed to return to the job you love and have had for many years, schedule a consultation today.

 

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