Most workers in San Diego and throughout the state of California are classified as “at-will” employees. This status means that the employee is free to leave their job at any time, and their employer is free to lay them off at any time. However, employers must make sure that their reason for firing their employee is lawful. Failing to do so is likely to land them in legal trouble.

A small sampling of some illegal reasons for firing an employee in California would include:

For Reporting a Violation of the Law

If an employer finds out that one of their employees reported their company to the authorities for violating the law, they must not attempt to get revenge by firing them. Such action will almost certainly result in a very costly lawsuit. Instead, the employer should consult with their business attorney in San Diego for advice on how to proceed with any ensuing investigations.

For their Political Beliefs or Affiliations

Every small business owner in the state of California and across the United States has its own set of political beliefs. However, they cannot expect their workers to adhere to those same beliefs as a condition of continued employment. Doing so would be a violation of both state and federal law.

For Their Nationality or Immigration Status

If a California employer finds out that one of their workers is an undocumented immigrant, they are legally obliged to lay them off. If an employee is legally present in the United States, however, their employer cannot fire them just because they are a citizen of another country.

Employers who want to learn more about their rights and responsibilities when hiring and firing non-citizens should speak to an experienced California employment compliance lawyer.

For Requesting Time Off That They Are Legally Entitled to Take

To attract highly skilled workers, employers often put together attractive compensation packages that include high salaries, retirement plans, health benefits, and lots of time off. When an employee accepts one of these packages, they expect to be able to make use of all of its benefits. If their employer chooses to fire them for attempting to use their time off, they may be able to sue.

For Their Sexual Orientation

In the state of California, it is illegal to ask about an applicant’s sexual orientation during the hiring process. However, once an employee has been working at a company for a while, they may feel comfortable sharing some information about their personal life with their co-workers. In doing so, they may reveal that they are a member of the LGBT+ community. It is not lawful for their employer to fire them because of this fact.

A California Employment Compliance Lawyer You Can Count On

For a complete guide to avoiding illegal reasons for firing someone, consult the Attorney General’s website here.  The legal team here at the Semanchik Law Group are experts in California employment law. If you need a business attorney in San Diego to help you fire one of your employees in a legal and ethical way, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us at (619) 535-1811.