California law narrows the basis on which an employer can terminate the employment of an employee.
While all states in the U.S. recognize at-will employment, each state allows specific exemptions. In other words, an employer may not terminate an employee for certain specific reasons. One of the most common prohibitions on terminating employment is discrimination. It would be unlawful for an employer to fire an employee solely because of the employee’s ethnicity, age, gender, religion, or disability status.
All states in the U.S. are at-will employment states. That means that either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment situation for whatever reason. However, employers are limited in terms of what basis they can use to fire an employee. So long as their employment was not terminated for illegal reasons, the employer is within their rights to fire an employee even if it is only because they are in a bad mood.
No employee can be lawfully terminated on the basis of race, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, disability, political activities, national origin, religion, genetic information, or status as a veteran.
Employers may not fire employees for unionizing or attempting to unionize. This is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.
If an employee reports an employer for illegal conduct or actions that go against the public good, that employee cannot be legally fired in California.
Additionally, it is unlawful for an employer to fire an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
Certain leaves of absence are protected by statute. These include:
In order to successfully sue an employer for wrongful termination, you must prove that their grounds were “unjust” under California law. Discrimination, of course, is grounds for unjust termination, but there are contractual breaches that can occur, as well. In addition, there are retaliation claims and an employer may not fire an employee for refusing to commit a crime or otherwise violate public policy.
In California, the standard of proof in a wrongful termination claim is that the illegal reason was a “contributing factor” to the termination. This means that discrimination or any illegal reason does not need to be the only motivating factor, but the plaintiff must show that it was a substantial cause for the decision.
If you have been unfairly discharged by your employer, you may be able to sue them for wrongful termination. You may be able to collect damages related to your lost wages, emotional trauma, attorney and court fees, and, in some cases, punitive damages. Contact Bogaards Law for more information.
Female student was sexually abused by a male student at a local private middle school. The male student had abused other students in the past.
Disputed sexual molestation of high school male student by female teacher at private school.
Plaintiff was the executive assistant for the CEO of a Silicon Valley tech company for only a few years. She was fired for absenteeism and poor work performance; however, plaintiff had a personal relationship with the CEO’s family and claimed that the personal relationship both interfered with her ability to do her office work and lead to her termination.
Court trial in Marin County for breach of plaintiff’s employment contract as an office manager. Plaintiff had both a personal and work relationship with employer, a medical doctor.
Elder abuse case involving the death of a client’s father at a skilled nursing facility due to neglect, dehydration, and open wounds. Case settled at early mediation.
Elder abuse case involving the death of a fellow attorney’s mother within a month of moving into an upscale care facility in Marin County, because she was not given medications. Expedited settlement within three months of claim.
Wrongful death of the 20-year-old daughter of Renee and Israel Morales in the San Bruno PG&E gas pipeline explosion, with co-counsel John Feder. We were the second case to go to mediation resulting in one of the highest settlements in history. We also accompanied Renee Morales to the PG&E criminal trial over 5 years later.
Wrongful death of 94 year old petite grandmother who ran out into traffic in the middle of the block between parked cars against a red light. Our accident reconstruction expert found no liability- zero-against the driver who hit her.
Partial finger amputation of 8-year-old boy with comparative fault.
Plaintiff was an 85-year-old man attending a weekly Rotary meeting at the DoubleTree Hotel in Livermore. He slipped on wet tiles and broke his femur in four places.
Plaintiff slipped and fell on nacho cheese on the floor at a U.S.F. basketball game, injuring his knee and resulting in arthroscopic surgery.
Wrist fracture arising out of pedestrian/auto accident, no surgery.
Carbon monoxide poisoning case where clients, living in a ranch home in west Marin County, had only one day of exposure and no residual symptoms.
Bicyclist suffered broken wrist injury requiring multiple surgeries in no liability case.
Race car professional suffered neuropathic leg pain when race car driver backed up into him, while standing at metal table in hangar.
Homeowner slips on unsecured tarp in her foyer after coming downstairs and sues her general contractor doing her kitchen remodel. Homeowner suffers a severe elbow injury with surgery.
Cyclist gets doored by rideshare car. Bruising and scarring near eye and hand.
Over 35 years of professional excellence
We hired Debra Bogaards to represent us after our beloved mother passed away as the result of negligent administration of medications at a reputable, upscale assisted living. Day by day we watched her decline, took her to medical appointments and were told by her doctors that they did not understand why. After her admission to the hospital, we discovered that nursing staff failed to administer prescribed medication; the unused pills were sitting unopened in our mother’s pill basket at the nurse’s station.
This was a painful, unnecessary and premature loss. We did not want other families to experience such an awful decline and death; we felt the assisted living facility had to remediate their practices and be held accountable.
Debra was an outstanding representative for us. We were exhausted, upset and bereft. Debra’s strength, confidence and knowledge comforted us. She helped us let go of the heavy responsibility of addressing the elder abuse because she carried it in her capable hands. Debra is uplifting to work with; she brings positive energy to all of her interactions, including with the opposing side and the mediator. Her strength and optimism reduces stress in naturally stressful situations. She has deep knowledge and experience and expertly researches case specific information. She is well prepared, a strong advocate, and is patient and respectful with her clients throughout the decision-making process.
Our result was very satisfying. The assisted living changed their protocol and instituted ongoing nursing supervision for the administration of medications. In addition, we received financial compensation. The results Debra achieved for us were excellent and helped us gain closure.
We highly recommend Debra as an advocate. She has high integrity, tremendous energy and gets results.
I recently had to mediate a complex and difficult case, where opposing counsel and I agreed to use Debra as the mediator. I found her to be extraordinarily competent, empathetic and efficient in getting my case resolved.
Debra was very thorough, read through and understood all the materials, and was very well prepared. She privately met with the parties and impressed upon them the risks each of them faced by going to trial. As a result, the parties reached a compromise which was fair, and only accomplished because Debra was able to see the case from a good perspective from both the plaintiff and the defendant’s point of view.
A month before trial, Ms. Bogaards successfully mediated a challenging personal injury case and was able to effectively bridge a vast cultural and legal divide, to broker a settlement acceptable to all.
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