You probably remember your early days at the California company where you worked for several decades. You were so happy even to have gained an entry-level position because you knew it was a good start and there would be opportunity for advancement. Some call this starting from the ground up and it definitely served you well in life. You went from the stockroom to a top executive position before you reached age 40.
Since then, you've been quite happy at work with the exception of everyday stresses and challenges that accompany most jobs. In fact, you and your spouse had recently begun talking about retirement, making plans to travel, perhaps invest in a beach home where you can take your grandkids and adult children for some quality family time and fun in the sun. Those plans crashed when you unexpectedly lost your job. You believe it was a wrongful termination but aren't sure what to do about it.
Identify the breach or wrongful action
Going up against an employer to protest a wrongful dismissal can be nerve wracking to say the least. You can be sure your employer is not going to take your complaint lying down, so it's best to do your homework ahead of time and be ready to present evidence and documented information to prove your case. The following ideas might help:
- You can't simply say you believe you shouldn't have been fired. Even as a company executive, you have the same employment risks as your colleagues inasmuch as most employers in California and beyond can hire and fire at will. Unless you have a particular written contract that states otherwise, your employer is under no obligation to retain your position.
- If you believe your employer has violated some aspect of your employment contract, you definitely have grounds to file a wrongful termination complaint.
- Non-written agreements may also have bearing on your case. If your employer made verbal promises or guaranteed your employment through non-contractual means, you may want to reach out for support to get your job back.
- In all 50 states, workplace discrimination is illegal. If you have evidence that your sudden termination had something to do with your age, physical condition, faith, race or other constitutionally protected status, you can take immediate action to rectify the situation.
Some California executives or lower-level employees hesitate to speak up against discrimination on the job or suspected wrongful termination situations for fear that things will only get worse. The fact is sometimes it does get worse, stress-wise, before it gets better, but if you believe in justice and feel strongly that you did not deserve to be fired, you have every right to do something about it. Think of it this way: You can't be any further out of work than you already are.
Who can help?
Other California workers have resolved wrongful termination problems or discrimination situations by asking experienced employment law attorneys to fight their causes for them.