Law offices of Leigh Herman, 1700 S. El Camino Real, Suite 220, San Mateo, CA 94402 .:. Phone 650-525-0848 Leigh Herman telephone 650-525-0848 Law offices of Leigh Herman .:. Leigh Herman Esq. 1700 S. El Camino Real, Suite 220, San Mateo, CA 94402 .:. Phone 650-525-0848 about services contact Employment Attorney

Legal experts in litigating workplace actions on the behalf of workers in the following types of cases.

Wrongful Termination under California Law

Wrongful termination is any illegal termination under state or federal law. In its narrowest use, it means that which violates California’s "public policy". It also means that which courts have ruled as termination based on illegal grounds.

The California courts have expanded the above definition to include termination that is caused by:

  1. refusal to do something illegal;

  2. doing something which the California or federal law gives you the right to do;

  3. complaints on work related matters;

  4. complaints to a third party about your employer;

  5. reasons that just do not "feel" right; or

  6. reasons used to "cover up" another reason

Wrongful termination is often difficult to prove. The employer-employee relationship is considered to be "at will" unless and until an employee is hired pursuant to a union contract or an individual employment contract

However, the "at will" relationship can be modified either verbally or through custom or practice.

These modifications can be made through assurances for continued employment made by the employer. It can also be modified if the employer did not follow stated policy on progressive discipline contained in the employee handbook. The policy existence means that the employment relationship has been modified so that an employer could be required to establish "good cause" prior to terminating an employee.

As the circumstances and facts are considered in a claim of wrongful termination, it is important for the employee to keep copies of any letters, awards, employee handbooks or manuals, performance reviews and disciplinary actions so that we can better evaluate the facts surrounding your case.

Two Sections of Wrongful Termination Law

1. Violation of public policy.

This aspect of law provides the terminated individual with a cause of action against the employer based on public policy. Examples include:

  • Anti-discrimination laws

  • Whistle-blower protection laws

  • Miscellaneous laws including:

    • California Family Rights Act provides time off for serious health condition of the employee or a family member

    • Pregnancy Discrimination Act which provides for time off for childbirth, and

    • Other Labor Code sections that provide for time off for jury duty, for breast-feeding infants, for parents to visit their children’s schools.

2. Wrongful termination for "breach of implied contract"

The "at will" employee, in using these grounds, must prove several factors such as employer’s consistent practice of progressive discipline and termination only "for cause"; length of employment; history of steady promotions and salary increases and the employer’s violation of its own policies and procedures.

In terminating employees, employers in California must observe the substantial as well as procedural aspects of the law or it will result to wrongful termination.

Our attorneys are available to offer expert advice and representation for you if you have experience wrongful termination. For more information, contact us today.

More case explanations to follow




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Law Offices of Leigh Herman

1700 S. El Camino Real
Suite 220
San Mateo, CA 94402
Phone 650-525-0848
Fax 650-578-8812


Please be advised that you have not established a relationship with this Firm until you and the Firm have a signed retainer agreement. Please see our terms of service page for more information.

Leigh Herman, labor attorney practicing law in the cities of San Mateo, Belmont, San Carlos, Burlingame, Colma, Daily City, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Santa Clara, San Jose, Redwood City, Foster City, Brisbane, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae, Pacifica, San Bruno, Hillsborough, Atherton, Menlo Park, Los Altos, and Woodside, and the San Francisco Bay Area Counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Contra Costa and Alameda.

Litigation and appellate specialist in California state and federal courts in cases concerning city, county and state employees and employers.

Actions taken on behalf of plaintiffs include litigation, class actions, appeals, negotiated settlements, writs. Also representing public employees in arbitration, mediation and administrative proceedings. Specializing in actions involving public entities, the Employment Development Department (EDD), Social Security Administration, State Disability, Labor Unions, federal, state, city and county governments.