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From Employment Fallout to Resolution: How a Wrongful Termination Lawyer Can Help



Losing a job can be a traumatic and challenging experience for any employee. But when that termination is found to be wrongful, the situation can spiral into serious legal issues. This is where the assistance of an experienced wrongful termination lawyer becomes crucial.

Understanding Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination refers to being fired from a job or in violation of contractual agreements. Several common grounds can constitute wrongful termination:

  • Discrimination: Being fired due to race, gender, age, disability, or other protected characteristics.
  • Retaliation: Getting terminated for engaging in protected activities like filing a harassment complaint or participating in union organizing.
  • Breach of employment contract: The employer violated specific procedures, processes, or terms in the employment agreement about termination.
  • Violating public policy: Firing someone for complying with public duties like jury duty or refusing orders to commit illegal acts.

Wrongful discharge claims arise when employees face adverse employment actions that are unjust, unethical, or illegal in nature. Although at-will employment allows firing without cause, exceptions apply when protected rights are violated or company policies are breached.

Employees often grapple with determining if their termination was unjustified or illegal. That’s where help from a wrongful termination lawyer becomes invaluable.

Approximately one in five workers in the US have experienced wrongful termination at some point in their careers.

Given the prevalence of wrongful termination cases, employees should explore their options and protect their rights.

Former employees are protected by the EEO statutes when they are subjected to discrimination arising from the former employment relationship

The Role of a Wrongful Termination Lawyer

An experienced wrongful termination lawyer in Los Angeles can be an employee’s lifeline after a traumatic firing event. Some of the key roles a lawyer plays are:

  • Advising if the termination makes up an illegal wrongful termination
  • Identifying violations of employment laws or contract provisions
  • Determining the strongest legal claims to pursue
  • Protecting the employee’s rights throughout the legal process

Approximately 60% of retaliation and wrongful termination cases result in favorable outcomes for employees in court.

An adept wrongful termination lawyer utilizes their legal skills and litigation experience to build a strong wrongful discharge case against employers violating the law. Their expertise can increase the odds of winning in court.

Navigating the Legal Process

After wrongful termination, employees may find themselves embroiled in the intricate process of litigation if they seek to recover damages or regain their jobs. Key aspects include:

Administrative filing: Alleged discrimination must first be reported to the EEOC before going to court

Demand letter: The employee’s wrongful termination lawyer often sends this first to try settling out of court

Discovery stage: This information-gathering phase prepares both sides for trial

Court litigation: Most cases settle here but some go to trial seeking remedies

Employers faced an 185%increase in retaliation claims in recent years, indicating growing legal action around wrongful termination.

Given the complexity of laws governing employee rights and termination, having legal guidance is essential for obtaining the best outcome.

Exceptions to At-Will Employment

Most private sector employees are considered “at-will”, meaning they can terminated at any time without cause or advanced notice. However, there are two key exceptions:

Implied Contract Exception.

Company policies and practices can form an implied contract that overrides the at-will clause. For example:

* Detailed discipline procedures implying termination only for cause

  • Verbal assurances of job security
  • Longstanding employment patterns and history

Public Policy Exception

At-will employees also gain protection if fired for reasons violating the state’s public policy doctrine. Some examples include:

  • Filing a complaint for owed wages
  • Refusing to falsify testing processes
  • Taking leave protected by federal and state laws

In such cases, the termination violates broader public policy considerations beyond the employee’s interests. These wrongful discharge claims aim to deter such unethical or illegal practices.

Recent estimates state approximately 150 million U.S. workers are employed on an at-will basis. That’s a large number of employees needing awareness about exceptions.

While at-will employment grants companies flexibility in termination decisions, it is subject to significant limitations. Understanding where exceptions lie empowers both employers and employees when navigating sensitive termination issues.

Breaches of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

Even at-will employees are protected from termination that breaches the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in their work contracts. For example:

  • Firing to avoid paying sales commissions
  • Misrepresenting reasons for termination

Remedies can include recovering lost income, out-of-pocket damages, and sometimes punitive damages to deter such employer behavior going forward.

Violations of Public Policy in Termination

Employees also have wrongful termination claims if they were fired for:

  • Exposing illegal activities at work (retaliation against whistleblowers)
  • Refusing to carry out unlawful orders from employers
  • Taking leave protected by law such as FMLA or jury duty obligations

In these cases terminating or punishing employees would violate established public policy, giving grounds for legal action. Damages can be large if employers are violating the law through such terminations.

Discrimination and Retaliation: Illegal Grounds for Termination


Employers cannot end anyone based on their:

  • Race, color, ancestry, national origin
  • Gender and sex
  • Age
  • Disability status
  • Sexual orientation

Retaliating against employees for complaining about discrimination or harassment is also prohibited and can constitute wrongful termination. Remedies aim to make victims whole through back pay, reinstatement to their jobs where applicable, and reimbursement of legal costs.

When Fraud and Defamation Play a Role

Although less common, some wrongful termination cases also involve:

  • Employers fabricating misconduct allegations to establish false cause for firing employees
  • Companies spreading misinformation to ruin the reputations and future job prospects of past employees

Proving fraud and willful defamation presents challenges, but documented evidence can enable employees to secure favorable rulings and greater relief for the damages they’ve suffered.

Whistleblower Laws and Employee Protections

Laws like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and False Claims Act contain vital provisions protecting employees from retaliation for reporting as whistleblowers:

  • Fraud by traded companies
  • Government contractors bilking taxpayer money

Employment lawyers can invoke these federal protections on behalf of clients fired for whistleblowing, seeking their reinstatement along with back pay, special damages, and attorney fee reimbursement.

Laws like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the False Claims Act contain vital provisions protecting employees from retaliation for being whistleblowers.

Case Studies and Legal Precedents

Examining past landmark verdicts helps gauge how courts have ruled on specific wrongful termination fact patterns:

In Cassidy v. Detroit Edison Co., a long-tenured female executive was awarded $2 million for age and gender discrimination leading to her firing

The Texas Supreme Court confirmed a $740,000 award for an employee fired soon after inquiring about wage law violations

These cases show that courts often recognize the large emotional, financial, and professional toll of losing one’s job due to injustice or discrimination. The awarded monetary damages reflect this understanding.


  1. What are the most common signs that state a termination might be wrongful?

Signs may include termination coinciding with recent whistleblowing, taking medical leave, making a harassment complaint, or an unrelated performance issue being referenced. Drastic deviation from company disciplinary policies can also signal wrongful motives.

  1. How long does a typical wrongful termination lawsuit take?

Most cases are resolved within 2 years from the initial EEOC complaint through settlement or trial verdict. But complex cases involving extensive discovery and appeals can extend to over 3 years in some instances.

  1. Can an employee sue for wrongful termination without a written contract?

Yes, the at-will employment doctrine still prohibits discrimination and retaliation as grounds for termination. So employees have a wrongful discharge claim independent of any written contract protections.

Closing Thoughts

Losing a job can be unsettling, more so when it results from injustice rather than cause. In such turbulent times, the expertise of employment lawyers helps employees understand their rights. Their guidance also charts the legal path to redemption – achieving justice and mitigating the impact of employment fallout. With sound advice and robust representation, employees can find resolution.

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