Can Employees Be Fired at Any Time?

California is an “at-will” employment state. This means that in most cases, your employer can fire you for almost any reason. He or she can legally fire you for such silly reasons as:

  • You are too tall or too short
  • They don’t like your attire
  • You made the coffee incorrectly
  • You are too good looking or not good looking enough
  • They think you did something that you didn’t do
  • You are too quiet or too talkative
  • They are in a bad mood, and you just happened to get caught in the crossfire
  • And more…

However, there are protections put in place to keep employers from firing employees willy-nilly. For example, when you were hired, your employer also signed a contract. Many employer contracts say that they can only fire an employee “for cause” or a good reason.

Also, take some time to get to know your Employee Handbook and any Union Agreements that might impact your employment. Many courts treat the Employee Handbook as a contract, so thoroughly understanding the policies put in place can benefit you. If you are in a union, your union may have entered into a bargaining agreement and laid out the circumstances in which you could be fired.

There are also reasons for which it is illegal to fire someone in the United States. These reasons include:

  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Physical disability
  • Pregnancy or the desire to become pregnant
  • Retaliation for whistleblowing
  • Retaliation for union activity
  • Retaliation for workers’ compensation or a workplace injury
  • Retaliation for medical leave
  • Retaliation for investigating harassment

If you have been fired for one of the above reasons that do not fall under the protection of “at-will,” contact Polaris Law Group as soon as you are able. Our Hollister employment lawyer can help you seek justice for your illegal termination. Get started with a consultation.

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