There are many legal reasons that employers in California can fire their employees. However, employers cannot fire an employee based on their race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability and other reasons. If they do, the employee may be able to file a wrongful termination claim. Through these claims the employee can try and hold the employer accountable for their actions and also receive compensation for their losses due to the wrongful termination.
This compensation can include a number of different things depending on the circumstances. The employee may be able to receive back pay, which is the amount they would have earned, including bonuses and other benefits, if they had not been wrongfully terminated. They may also be able to receive future pay if they are still unable to find similar employment at the time the case is completed. They may also be able to receive compensation for emotional distress and even punitive damages.
Punitive damages are designed to simply punish the employer for their actions. In order to be successful in recovering these damages the employee must be able to demonstrate that the employer acted with malice, fraud or oppression. The employer must have acted in a way that was intended to harm the employee, create unjust and undue hardship on the employee or that the employer intentionally misrepresented things to the employee or acted with deceit. The burden to show that the employer acted in this manner is on the employee.
Many people are fired in California every year. Many times it is for legal reasons, but there are many other situations where the employee was wrongfully terminated. Employees have certain rights whether they are at-will employees or not, and when these rights are violated employees may be able to pursue compensation from their employer.