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When is it illegal to terminate an employee in California?

California employers have a lot of power over their employees. From telling their employees what time they have to be at work to what employees must wear and how often they can take breaks, employers control many aspects of a person's life. Employers also have a great deal of control when it comes to terminating an employee. Employers can fire a person for almost any reason, and for no reason at all.

However, there are limitations to an employer's ability to terminate a person. Federal and state employment laws are in place that prevent an employer from terminating someone for several reasons. First, it is illegal to termination someone in retaliation. This means that employers cannot terminate an employee for exercising a legal right. This includes the right to report an unsafe working condition or complain about unlawful discrimination.

California employers have a lot of power over their employees. From telling their employees what time they have to be at work to what employees must wear and how often they can take breaks, employers control many aspects of a person's life. Employers also have a great deal of control when it comes to terminating an employee. Employers can fire a person for almost any reason, and for no reason at all.

However, there are limitations to an employer's ability to terminate a person. Federal and state employment laws are in place that prevent an employer from terminating someone for several reasons. First, it is illegal to termination someone in retaliation. This means that employers cannot terminate an employee for exercising a legal right. This includes the right to report an unsafe working condition or complain about unlawful discrimination.

Second, it is also illegal to fire someone based on discrimination against a protected class. In other words, it is an unlawful termination to fire someone because of that person's race, religion, gender, , disability or other similarly protected characteristic. It is also illegal to fire someone because he or she is not a U.S. citizen, as long as the person has the legal right to work in the U.S. It is also illegal to terminate an employee because that person refuses to take a lie detector test, because the employee has acted as a whistleblower, or due to the fact that employee has exercised that person's right to medical leave.

When employers engage in a wrongful termination, employees may have the right to take legal action. Specific legal advice from an attorney, and not this blog post, may be a good idea in those situations.

Source: Findlaw, "Wrongful Termination Laws: Illegal Reasons," accessed July 5, 2015

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