4 Ways You May Become a Victim of Wrongful Termination

posted by Daniel Stevens  |  Jan 1, 2019 5:37 PM [EST]  |  applies to California


Wrongful termination


4 Ways You May Become a Victim of Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination is where an employer fires an employee for an illegal reason. Some illegal reasons may be if an employer fires an employee based on an employee belonging to a protected class or if an employee reports illegal activity. There are many ways in which an employee may experience wrongful termination, but many of the ways are motivated by discrimination.  Below are four examples of ways in which an employee may become a victim of wrongful termination and in some situations, the termination is fueled by discrimination.

1. Age is just a number

age discrimination orange county

Even though life expectancy has increased over the years, employees over a certain age are still targeted for age discrimination.  In California, employees who are over the age of 40 are a protected class. This means an employer cannot mistreat an employee because he or she is over the age of 40 years old. An example of this would be if a boss urged their employee whom recently turned 50, to retire.  Upon the employee’s refusal, the employer found a phony reason to fire the employee. This may be an example of age discrimination as well as wrongful termination.

2.  White men can’t jump

Wrongful Termination

Although we can all laugh freely at the 90’s film White Men Can’t Jump, now that we approaching 2019, it is not something we can joke about in the office.  In California, a person’s race is considered a protected class.  This means that if an employee is being picked on, singled out, or mistreated because of their race, it is considered as unlawful behavior.  If an individual is fired based on their race, this is considered as wrongful termination.

Wrongful termination based on race is not found where an employee was fired for a work-related reason, but because the employee was of a certain race could claim wrongful termination.  That’s not how the law works. The claim for wrongful termination based on race has to be found on the very basis that this individual was fired because they are a particular race.  For example, Linda who identifies as Hispanic experienced constant teasing from her boss for her accent as well as frequent poor performance reviews based on bogus reasons.  Eventually, Linda was fired for her “numerous poor performance reviews”.  Here, Linda may be able to make a claim for wrongful termination based on race.  Her boss’ teasing in combination with baseless poor performance reviews may point towards her boss singling Linda out based on her race.  Other factors may assist Linda’s claim such as if Linda was the only Hispanic employee at her job and/or that other Hispanic employee in the past who were fired or who were teased for their accent.  So here, because Linda was fired potentially because of her accent, even though the official reason was for her poor performance review, she may be able to sue her employer for wrongful termination as well as discrimination.

But what if we slightly changed the facts of the above example and let’s say Linda had been coming into work late every day and had received several verbal and written warnings regarding her tardiness.  In that set of facts, it may be argued by Linda’s employer that she was fired based on her constant tardiness rather than race.  Here, it would be difficult for Linda to claim that she was fired because of her race.

3.  Blow the Whistle


“Blow the Whistle” is a throwback that is gladly embraced for any good dance party, yet Too $hort didn’t mention the dark side to actually blowing the whistle on your employer.

It can be a brave but scary task to report something shady that is going on at work.  In California, there are laws in place to protect whistleblowers.  A whistleblower is an employee who reports certain illegal activities or practices that are going on at their place of employment. These laws provide a shield to employees from particular types of retaliation an employer may attempt to invoke in their position of power. For instance, if an employee had first hand-knowledge of their boss only firing the men and replacing them with all female employees, the employee may be able to report this with the protection of the law.  In this example, the employee would be reporting their boss exercising illegal termination and hiring practices.

Keep in mind that although whistleblower laws are in place to protect disclosure of illegal activity, it may not stop the employer from retaliating.  The laws are there to tell the employer what they can’t do while also giving the wronged employee the right to make a claim against the employer after the fact.  Whistleblower cases can be complicated, but with the direction and skill of an employment lawyer, an employee may be able to utilize the law for protection.

4.  Cripple, Handicapped, Challenged

Disability Discrimination

Cripple, handicapped, challenged, these are all insensitive and politically incorrect labels used to describe a person who may have or is perceived to have a disability.  Employees with certain disabilities, whether it is permanent or temporary, are a protected class.  In other words, an employee who is picked on, singled out, demoted, denied employment benefits, or fired based on their disability, may have a claim for disability discrimination and/or wrongful termination and he or she can contact to a wrongful termination lawyer for a free consultation.

Employers are required by law to make adjustments for an employee’s disability so as the employee can perform their duties at the workplace. These adjustments must be reasonable as far as costs and the ability for the employer to actually be able to make the adjustment.  For example, an employee may request to work certain shifts such as only shifts in the daytime because the employee’s vision is impaired. Here, it may be considered a reasonable and feasible adjustment for the employer to schedule the particular employee to only work day shifts.

Each case is distinctive in its facts and must be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Depending on the paperwork that was provided to the employer regarding the disability as well as the extent of the request for accommodation, an employee may have a claim against their employer

For more info please look at these articles:

5 Employees who are Targets of Discrimination and/or Wrongful Termination
5 Important Questions about Disability Discrimination and Wrongful Termination

Comments (0)

No comments were found for this article.

Have an Employment Law question?

Virginia Employment Lawyers

Matthew Sutter Matthew Sutter
Sutter & Terpak, PLLC
Annandale, VA
Gerald Lutkenhaus Gerald Lutkenhaus
Virginia Workers Compensation & Disability Lawyer
Richmond, VA
Edward Lowry Edward Lowry
Charlottesville, VA
Sheri Abrams Sheri Abrams
Sheri R. Abrams PLLC
Oakton, VA
Matthew Kaplan Matthew Kaplan
The Kaplan Law Firm

more Virginia Employment Lawyers