It always amazes us the things employers tell their employees. For example, we always get calls from employees who say their boss told them that they can fire them for any reason at any time because they are an at-will employee. This is not entirely true. In California, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason unless that reason violates public policy. Under California law, the public policy position supersedes over the at-will employment doctrine. You are probably wondering, “What is this public policy thing?” Basically, a wrongful termination in violation of a public policy occurs if an employer terminates an employee due to gender, race, national origin, family or medical leave, political activity, or for reporting unsafe working conditions. This is not an exhaustive list, but just some examples of wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
An Employer Cannot Fire An Employee For Reporting Unsafe Working Conditions
In Webb v. Ramos Oil Company, plaintiff was a truck driver who transported fuel for defendant employer. Plaintiff had been an employee for defendant for thirteen years. One day, while plaintiff was transporting fuel, the area in which he was driving was experiencing severe storm and heavy wind, as well as flooding from heavy rain. During his route, plaintiff’s truck would rock back and forth and almost tip over. In addition, plaintiff witnessed other cars strugging on the road, downed power lines, and flying debris. While on route, he called his employer and asked if he could postpone his delivery due to the dangerous driving conditions but his employer refused. When he was finally done with his route, he decided to join some friends for a drink. A few hours a later, he was called back to work, but said no because he had drank a few alcoholic beverages and because it was still way to dangerous to drive a truck transporting fuel. Plaintiff was fired a couple days later. Luckily, Plaintiff retained an employment lawyer.
The Defendant argued that Plaintiff basically made all of this up so he would not have to perform his job duties that day. Clearly, the jury did not buy this defense and awarded Plaintiff over $6 million dollars in economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Call A Lawyer If You Have Been Wrongfully Terminated
At the end of the day, this case shows that employers are still being held accountable for breaking the law and violating an employee’s rights. People in California are fired everyday, and most of the time, the person has no idea whether what just happened was lawful. If you feel like your termination was wrongful or there was something not quite right about it, thus it cannot hurt to call an employment lawyer. Most employment lawyers do a free consultation, and some will even tell you whether or not they think you have a case. Call an employment lawyer immediately if you feel you have been wrongfully terminated!
4 Responses to Employment Lawyer For Wrongful Termination
Thank you for the post, Robert! There was a situation where hot liquid broke out of a container in a manufacturing plant and the employee that was affect was terrified that she would be fired for it. Thankfully she wasn’t, but is she was, an employment attorney definitely could have made a case. Employees should never put up with unsafe conditions because of unsafe conditions. The more people know that the more companies will take complaints like these more seriously.
I had heard in the past that employment lawyers were extremely useful especially in cases like wrongful termination. You wrote that a boss often cannot fire you for just “any reason”and that under many state laws, the public policy position supersedes over the at-will employment policy. Being fired from a job can mean a lot, as I had heard it can make getting a new job even harder. Being able to be both compensated and keep your job could be extremely beneficial to an employee. Thanks for the read.
It’s great to know that an employee cannot be easily terminated by his employer unless he committed a violation of a public policy and that you can take it legally with the help of a wrongful termination lawyer to get justice from what was done to you. In that way, the employees can be protected from the possibility of getting them bullied and get rid of easily just because they committed a slight mistake at work. This is one of the things that I will keep in mind since office politics can be rampant at work; knowing your rights is a smart move for survival and that a slight mistake that one can do against you might lead to a big consequence that he might regret in the end.
Some really quality posts on this website , saved to bookmarks . Corella Sean Lipkin