The general rule in California is that employment is considered “at will.” This means that, in the absence of an employment agreement altering "at will" employment, an employer can terminated an employee at any time and for any reason.
There are, however, exceptions to the “at will” doctrine. Employers are not permitted to terminate employees for illegal reasons or reasons that contravene a fundamental public policy.
What constitutes a fundamental public policy is a question of law. The supreme court has declared that a fundamental public policy does not exist unless the employer has a duty that "inures to the benefit of the public at large rather than to a particular employer or employee." Foley v Interactive Data Corp. (1988). The supreme court later clarified this ruling by declaring that a public policy supporting the wrongful termination cause of action must be based on a specific statutory or constitutional provision. Gantt v Sentry Ins. (1992).
An employee who has been wrongfully terminated may seek several different remedies. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated and want to assert your rights, it is very helpful to contact an attorney who specializes in employment law.
Contact Law Office of Nathan Reese today to schedule a free consultation.