Toni Jaramilla, A Professional Law Corporation - Los Angeles Employment Attorney Toni Jaramilla, A Professional Law Corporation - Los Angeles Employment Attorney
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What evidence could point to wrongful termination?

A termination is usually a bad experience for the person being terminated, but not all terminations qualify as wrongful terminations under the law. This is because California follows the employment-at-will rule, a rule that allows employers to terminate employees for any reason not forbidden by law or an employment contract. For example, while employers have broad discretion to fire employees, they may not fire them for a reason prohibited by equal employment opportunity law. These laws prohibit terminating an employee on account of their race, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, pregnancy status or other disapproved reason.

What should an employee do if they suspect they were fired for one of these disapproved reasons? Employees can look to see if there is evidence that they were discharged for a prohibited reason. First, was there any direct evidence that the termination happened for a discriminatory reason? If so, this could be a strong case that a wrongful termination happened. Direct evidence could include a statement from an employer that the termination happened because of the prohibited reason.

Even if no direct evidence like this exists, there may be circumstantial evidence of discrimination. Circumstantial evidence can also be used in court to try to prove that a termination was wrongful. Circumstantial evidence could include evidence that only female employees were laid off, or evidence that an employee was fired after their religion or sexual orientation was learned.

There are many other things that can constitute evidence of wrongful termination. One of these is different treatment of employees based on their race, sex, religion, age or other protected characteristic. If an employer routinely terminates older workers when they are late, but does not do so to younger workers, this may be evidence of discrimination.

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