What do need to prove for a valid wrongful termination case?

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What do need to prove for a valid wrongful termination case?

I had been repeatedly written up for minor issues and non-issues in an attempt to get me to quit. When I refused to walk away they found something 1 of the people under me had failed to do, so they blamed me as dept manager for not noticing. I was terminated. I have documented policy violations of much more serious issues that this person has outright ignored or committed himself that shows he selectively targeted me to try to get me to leave. He has done this to 2 other managers that I am friends with as well. I am curious if there is a case worth pursuing here?

Asked on August 22, 2011 California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You may not have a case. The problem is, if you don't have an employment contract (including union agreement), you are an employee at will, and employees at will may be disciplined or terminated at any time, for any reason or no reason at all. There is no general obligation to treat employees fairly or the same, and s supervisor may "target" an employee to get rid of him or her. In essence, if you are employee at will, you have almost no rights.

Here are the exceptions:

1) If there is an employment agreement, its terms in regards to grounds or process for termination must be followed.

2) You cannot be discriminated against because of your race, sex, religion, age over 40, disability (federal law) or national origin, marital status, sexuaul orientation, or certain other genetic characteristics (CA); but if the behavior is not motivated by one of these, it is legal.

3) You cannot suffer retaliation for having brought a protected claim or complaint (e.g. for illegal discrimination per 2), above; for an overtime violation) or for using a protected right or benefit (e.g. getting Worker's Compensation; using FMLA leave).

But apart from the above, you may be terminated if you are an employee at will, unfortunately.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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