There are many reasons that employers in California decide to terminate certain employees and most of them are legal. California is an at-will state meaning that absent an employment contract for a specific period of time, the employer can pretty much fire an employee for almost any reason. However, the employees do have certain protections even without an employment contract. It is illegal for employers to discriminate against employees based on the employee being in a protected class.

This means that the employer cannot terminate an employee simply because they feel that the employee is too old for the job or because the employee is a woman, practices a certain religion, is a particular race and other reasons like these. However, when an employee is terminated for one of these reasons, the employer does not usually blatantly tell the employee they are being fired for a discriminatory reason.

The employer will usually try to find another reason to fire the employee even though the true reason is that they have a bias against certain classes of individuals. So, if employees believe they may have been the victim of a wrongful termination, they need to pay attention to less overt clues.

Things that people should look at is if there were certain policies that targeted certain groups even though the policies technically applied to all employees. Another clue may be that the employer began treating an employee differently after learning they practiced a particular religion or found out their age. Another is whether only people of a certain class had been fired or laid off recently. Employees should also pay attention to clues such as an employer enforcing certain rules only against a certain class of employees. Also, employees should pay attention to comments made by employers indicating they may have a bias even though the comments are not directly discriminatory.

Many employees in California may have been fired because of their race, sex, religion, age, disability or other discriminatory reasons. However, it is not always very easy to prove that they were wrongfully terminated. Experienced attorneys understand which clues to look for and may be able to protect one’s rights.

Source:, “Wrongful Termination Checklist” accessed on February 22, 2018