Even though California is an “at-will” state, job termination can come as a huge surprise for executive level employees. “At-will” employment can be terminated by an employer or employee at any time, for any reason that is not unlawful, and without advance notice. However, that doesn’t mean employers are protected from wrongful termination claims. If you are a senior executive and believe you have been unlawfully terminated, contact Rise Law Firm for a free consultation.
Why Choose Our Firm?
- We are well known for handling high-profile cases involving executive level employees, and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation on behalf of our clients.
- Our attorneys have received degrees from some of the most prestigious universities in the nation.
- Our priority is providing our clients with high quality service that includes honest communication and transparency, while we fight to recover the maximum amount of compensation possible.
Common Executive Level Wrongful Termination Claims
Common grounds for an executive level wrongful termination claim in California include the following:
- Fired in breach of an existing contract. California employees cannot be fired for a specified time period without good cause, if they have a written, oral or implied contract.
- Fired to avoid paying bonuses. Employers cannot fire an employee right before a significant bonus would have been paid.
- Fired based on a protected characteristic. Employers are prohibited from firing employees based on: age (if the employee is at least 40), race, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, genetic information, citizenship status, national origin, religion, pregnancy, sex, disability, medical condition, political activities or affiliations, military and veteran status, or their status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault.
- Fraudulent inducement of employment. Employers in California cannot make false statements to a prospective or current employee in an effort to urge them to take a job or continue working, when that employee would not have taken or kept the job otherwise.
- Fired due to an alleged violation of a non-compete agreement. Non-compete agreements are typically deemed illegal under the California Business and Professions Code, unless it is part of the sale or dissolution of a corporation, limited liability company, or partnership (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §§ 16601, 16602), or necessary to protect an employer’s trade secrets
Other executive level wrongful termination claims include breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, unfair competition, harassment, and many others.
Steps To Take After Being Wrongfully Terminated
The first step after being wrongfully terminated is to promptly hire an attorney who has extensive experience handling employment matters for employees in leadership positions. Executive level wrongful termination claims are legally complicated, and the stakes are high. Not only can it be financially devastating, but your reputation may be impacted as well and as a result, future employment opportunities. An attorney can assess your case and determine whether your claim is valid, as well as which specific statute or violation of public policy it will be based on. If possible, gather any available evidence prior to your first meeting, such as documents, emails, text messages, audio recordings, etc., that may be important to your case.
Damage Awards in Executive Level Wrongful Termination Lawsuits
Potential damages that are typically available in executive level wrongful termination lawsuits include:
- Lost salary and salary continuation for the agreed-upon specified length of time
- Lost benefits (may require an expert to determine the monetary value)
- Unpaid bonuses, prorated bonuses, or long term incentives
- Vesting of equity or replacement of lost equity, whether options, restrictive stock or RSUs
- Reimbursement for expenses related to the job offer (e.g. a loss from selling a home that was purchased for relocation)
- Outplacement assistance
- Pain and suffering – effect on your physical, emotional, and/or mental health.
- Punitive damages (when an employer’s actions were egregious)
- Legal fees and court costs
There are additional remedies that a court may choose to award that are not strictly money based. For instance, an employer may be ordered to reinstate the claimant’s employment, be issued an injunction to prevent similar acts in the future, or ordered to re-draft their hiring and firing policies.
Contact Us Today
To speak with a highly experienced executive level wrongful termination lawyer, please call our Los Angeles office at (310) 861-3303 or complete our online contact form. We offer free initial consultations.