Just because employees in California are at-will employees, employers can’t fire them for illegal reasons. There are many different things that employers can’t fire employees for. Anyone in the state’s workforce should know about these protected classes.
Employers can’t terminate employees because of their race, sex, national origin, disability, age or religion. They also can’t fire you because you make a factual complaint about something illegal that’s going on at that business.
#1: Employment contracts matter
People who sign an employment contract likely have extra protections over those who don’t have one. Your employer can’t terminate you for any reason that goes against the terms of the employment contract.
#2: Final pay must be given immediately
When you’re terminated, your employer must give you your final paycheck immediately. They can’t force you to wait until payday or any other date. This includes any vacation pay that you’ve earned but haven’t used. State law doesn’t require the company to pay you for your unused sick days.
#3: You have legal rights
Wrongful termination is illegal, but employers will sometimes try to get away with it. Things like your employment reviews might come in handy if you’re terminated and need to prove that it was for an illegal reason.
If you feel as though you were illegally terminated, you should explore your rights under California law. You need to have someone evaluate the situation who is familiar with this area of the law so you can find out what options you have for handling the situation. Doing this quickly after the termination is a good idea since this is a time-sensitive matter.