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Santa Monica Wrongful Termination

Santa Monica Lawyer Representing Fired Employees

Santa Monica is a city located on the beachfront in Los Angeles County. Its population as of 2010 was 89,736. Many major businesses are headquartered in Santa Monica including Lionsgate Films, Miramax, the Universal Music Group, Fatburger, Activision Blizzard, Riot Games, and the RAND Corporation. The city is more recently home to many startups funded by venture capital. Companies in Santa Monica must follow both federal and state laws. While employment is at-will in California, there are exceptions to the general rule, and companies cannot violate statutes, contracts or public policy in terminating their employees. If you believe that your employer illegally fired you, you should consult with a Santa Monica wrongful termination attorney from the Calderone Law Firm.

Federal and State Employment Discrimination Laws

Although most employees in California are at-will, some are protected by contracts that specify a term of employment or only allow termination for cause. Additionally, there are many circumstances in which a termination violates public policy. Employees in Santa Monica are also protected under federal antidiscrimination laws and the state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA)

FEHA is the state law that prohibits employment discrimination in California with regard to a wide range of protected characteristics. These protected characteristics include race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, HIV status, disability, genetic information, age, military or veteran status and status as a domestic violence victim. If your employer has at least 5 employees, you are protected under FEHA.

If your employer terminated you on the basis of a characteristic protected under FEHA, you may be able to recover damages in a wrongful termination lawsuit. For example, if you were fired because you came out to your coworkers and supervisor as gay, you may be able to recover damages for sexual orientation discrimination. Discrimination based on a protected characteristic need not be the only reason for termination. You can bring a claim with the help of a wrongful termination lawyer in Santa Monica where any illegal reason was more than a trivial factor in the decision.

Federal antidiscrimination laws may also protect you, but in many situations, FEHA’s protection is greater. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex, color, and religion. However, it applies only to employers with a minimum of 15 employees and caps damages based on size of the employer. Other federal antidiscrimination laws include the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Retaliation

Additionally, FEHA and the federal antidiscrimination statutes prohibit retaliation for engaging in a protected activity. Retaliation can include any negative employment action taken in response to you engaging in protected activities. Protected activities include exercising your right to complain to HR, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) about discrimination or sexual harassment. Certain laws also provide for leave under specified circumstances, and you should not be terminated or demoted for taking that leave. For instance, if you lawfully take a pregnancy leave as provided under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), your employer is not allowed to seek reprisal by terminating you because you took that leave. A Santa Monica wrongful termination attorney can review the circumstances surrounding your termination to determine whether your firing violated federal or state employment discrimination laws.

Damages

If you successfully establish liability, you may be able to recover economic and noneconomic losses. Economic damages can include lost benefits, lost backpay and lost front pay. Noneconomic losses that may be recovered include emotional distress. In some cases, equitable relief may be available in the form of an injunction or reinstatement. In situations involving egregious or malicious misconduct by an employer, it may be possible to obtain punitive damages.

Consult a Seasoned Wrongful Termination Attorney in Santa Monica

If you believe your employers wrongfully fired you, you should discuss your situation with an experienced lawyer. The Calderone Law Firm may be able to represent you in a lawsuit for damages. Please give us a call at (424) 348-8290 or complete our online form.