The state of California is an employed “at-will” state. That means that both you and your employer have to right to end your employment without notice at any time. However, sometimes you might suspect your employer let you go for a particular reason such as your skin color or age.
Examples of wrongful termination
The following groups are considered federally protected classes in California, and an employer cannot fire you because of them: age (40 years or older), race, religion or creed, sexual orientation, disability (mental or physical), gender identity, marital status, medical issues or disabilities, and veteran or active military status
Proving your case
If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated due to your belonging to one of these protected categories, you may be able to sue your employer. In order to do that, you’ll need proof to back up your claim. You will need to gather your past employment reviews and your letter of termination.
Record any conversations that you can remember having with your employer that may have led you to believe that you were going to be let go. California does allow for verbal accounts to be used as evidence in the courtroom. Make sure that your notes are as detailed as possible.
Consider asking fellow employees to serve as witnesses to these conversations. Some may be hesitant for fear of losing their own jobs. But, there’s likely to be one or two people who will stand up for you.
There are statutes of limitations for filing a wrongful termination lawsuit, so the sooner you speak with an experienced legal advisor, the better.