Here is a short decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which serves to illustrate a couple of important legal principles regarding wrongful termination cases.
Most callers to our office are completely unaware of the at-will employment presumption, so they start from the false premise that the employer needs a reason to fire them. I explain that being fired for no reason does not make it a wrongful termination UNLESS the termination violates a public policy, like discrimination on the basis of race.
Sometimes the caller is so discouraged by that point that they say something like,
“Well then I guess employees have no rights in California, because if they can fire you for no reason, then how would you ever prove they did it out of discrimination? No employer is ever going to say, “I’m firing you because you are black.’”
You’re right, caller, they probably won’t say that (although a surprising number of employers do say, “We’re firing you because you are pregnant.”). But never did I say there was such a requirement. Most cases are proven with indirect evidence.
Look at the following case to see how attorneys prove wrongful termination based on discrimination. Continue reading