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Wrongful terminations and your rights as an employee

When you're in an at-will employment relationship, it means that your employer can choose to terminate your position at any time without advanced notice. Your employer can also choose to give you advanced notice, but this isn't required, just as he doesn't need to provide you with a reason for the termination.

All states except for Montana have at-will employment relationships. An at-will termination is not the same as a wrongful termination, though. While an at-will termination could be for any reason, if the reason turns out to be based in discrimination, you could have a case against your employer.

Wrongful terminations are any terminations that violate state or federal laws. For instance, it's against the law to terminate someone based on their gender, age, or sexual preferences. If you have evidence that you were discriminated against for your gender, for example, you could provide this evidence to your attorney and prepare a lawsuit against the company alleging this unfair treatment.

In California the Covenant of Good Faith Exception is one that you may be able to use to help win your case. This exception states that terminations that were motivated by malice or that were made in bad faith are not legal. The court will look at things like the procedures used to fire you, the length of your employment, and any job security representations made to you in the past. Essentially, the court looks at the case to make sure you've been treated fairly.

It's important to hold employers to these high standards to protect employees. If you've lost your job, you deserve to be heard and have your case reviewed.

Source: FindLaw, "At-Will Employment and Wrongful Termination," accessed July 29, 2016

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