For many California residents, the thought of being abruptly fired from a job is likely one they would rather not entertain. Some, however, have no choice but to face the prospect of being fired. While some situations may be perfectly legitimate -- an employer may have valid and, more importantly, legal reasons for firing someone -- some cases may fall under the category of wrongful termination.
A man who had been employed as a project manager at a California jail recently filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the county in which he was employed. His employers gave two reasons for why they terminated his position in 2013. One, the man had identified himself as a professional engineer, which was placed under investigation. What's more, his employers also accused the man of lying while he was being investigated.
According to the county's allegations, the man violated the business code and was fully aware of the violation. The man did, in fact, have a professional engineer's license -- but it was not from the state of California. It was from Washington.
However, the man had a different opinion of why the county fired him. Rather than because of the alleged misidentification of himself as a professional engineer, the man believes it was because he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 and did not notify the county of this matter until 2013. Once he requested accommodations for his condition, the county began investigating him. While the case is still open, the man is being reinstated in his position as program/business leader.
If the motive behind firing someone is one that is found to be illegal, it may be possible to obtain compensation with a wrongful termination lawsuit. It is illegal to fire an employee for discriminatory or retaliatory reasons. Being of aware of their rights can help recently terminated employees decide if legal action is appropriate.
Source: Santa Maria Sun, "Ex-jail project manager sues county for alleged wrongful termination," Camillia Lanham, May 7, 2014