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Wrongful termination comes after participation in a protected act

You probably never go into a shift at work thinking that it is going to be your last unless you've turned in your notice that you're leaving the job. For some people, the unexpected loss of a job happens while they are just trying to get their work done. There are protections for workers who are wrongfully terminated, but this doesn't apply to all cases.

California is an at-will employment state so employers technically don't need a reason to fire you. There are some specific situations in which they can't fire you. If you have participated in a protected activity, the employer can't use termination as a retaliatory measure. Here are some of these activities:

  • Working with investigators: You can't be terminated for cooperating with an investigation into potentially illegal activities at the workplace.
  • Filing a complaint: Your employer can't fire you because you file a complaint with the authorities for unlawful activities at the company, including those related to sexual harassment or safety violations.
  • Making a complaint: You can't be let go because you make a complaint to human resources about harassment or discrimination on the job.

If you need to make a claim for wrongful termination based on a protected activity, you might find that proving your case is challenging. You must show that you were a participant in something that is protected. You need to show that your employer is retaliating against you for those actions.

It is important that you continue to do your job duties to the best of your abilities while you are engaged in these activities. Your employment record might come into the picture if you need to take legal action. You don't need negative marks in it since this might give the employer a lawful basis for the termination.

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