‘At will’ employment status doesn’t mean workers left hanging

If you don’t work under a contract that spells out a specific duration for your duties, you should presume that you are subject to the “at will” concept of service. That’s the standard in force in most cases in California.

What that means is that your boss has the right to let you go if it suits him or her, without having to give you any particular cause for the action. While that may sound as if employees have no protection under the law that is not the case.

You have the right to walk away from your employer at any time for any reason, too. And if you suspect that your firing reflects illegal discrimination of one or another kind, you may have a legitimate wrongful termination case.

It is critical for anyone who has concerns in this regard to be in touch with an attorney experienced in California employment law. By consulting with appropriate legal counsel, an individual can assess all the circumstances of the firing and help make a determination whether it’s fitting to seek compensation.

Perhaps you were fired after taking a leave of absence as allowed for under the federal Family Medical Leave Act or California’s Family Rights Act. If before or after your return from leave, evidence shows that your employer created an environment of hostility toward you for some reason — gender, race, religion, disability, health condition or sexual orientation — legal action might be warranted.

Even if general company policy states that the firm understands its responsibilities under the FMLA or CFRA, that doesn’t necessarily mean individual managers have been properly educated or will follow the policy.

For the protection of worker rights in the face of illegal actions by employers of any size, speak with an attorney.

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