How to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in California

How to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in California

How to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit in California

The state of California recognizes that employers are entitled to terminate a worker’s employment if they do not fulfill their duties as expected. However, many laws are in place to protect workers’ rights, giving them the right to fight against employer abuse, mistreatment, and wrongful termination. Here is just a rundown of what you need to know about filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination.

What Are the Grounds of Wrongful Termination?

There are a few grounds that you can use in the case between an employer and a former employee. While these don’t apply to every state, here are some recognized by California law.

Violation of Written Contract

This violation is one that all 50 states recognize as hard evidence that can be presented in court. Both parties must uphold the employment contract as signed and notarized at the beginning of employment.

Any violation of the document is known as a “breach of contract.” If employers, for example, have stated in the written contract that you will receive bonuses each year but have failed to deliver, then it is a definite breach you can use against them.

Public Duty Before Job Security: Violations of Public Policy

The state of California recognizes this as grounds for wrongful termination. If you were fired because your employer won’t grant you time to go out and exercise your democratic right to vote, it is unjust and can warrant legal action. The same goes for being absent from work for jury duty.

Word of Mouth: Implied Contract of Employment

Wrongful termination lawsuits can vary from case to case. An implied contract of employment is a non-written or verbal agreement between the employer and employee.

There are many ways to go about breaching this contract. One example is using the employee handbook as material to prove mistreatment. If you have been fired despite being a model employee who has not broken any handbook rules, then you can contest if it states that “only employees who violate these terms will be subject to termination.”

This can also break a “covenant of good faith,” which is another violation of an implied contract. For example, suppose an employer promises you a promotion with a raise or job security for life but ends up firing you. In that case, it can damage your self-esteem and completely ruin your professional standing.

Constructive Discharge

Resignation is technically not considered termination, but if you were in any way coerced to resign, that could be considered wrongful termination. If you can prove that your employer made it intolerable for you to work in their environment deliberately, then you have the right to file a lawsuit against them.


The harsh reality is that many employers out there do not treat their employees the way they should. But we live in a world where justice for workers is absolutely essential and protected by law. If you find yourself terminated prematurely for no good reason, then you have a good case for wrongful termination.

If you believe that you have been terminated for unjust reasons, seek the counsel of Pacific Workers. We are the best workers compensation attorneys in Northern California, with offices in Oakland, Tracy, Concord, San Jose, Stockton, and Sacramento. Call us at 800 606 6999 for a free consultation.