Most employees won’t stay with their employers from the time they start working until they retire. While that may have been true in the past, now many employees move from job to job every few years. Sometimes employees leave because they want to, and other times, employees’ contracts are terminated or they are fired. While employers generally can fire an employee for almost any reason, employee laws prevent wrongful termination in California.
Recently, a former cross-country and track coach at San Jose State has filed a wrongful termination case against the school. He claims that his contract was not renewed on the basis of his race. The man is African-American and coached the teams for one-year. According to the 72-year-old former coach, his termination has lead to various health problems including a recent stroke. In the suit, the former coach is asking for $2.25 million
The school, on the other hand, claims that they just decided not to renew his contract. They deny that any illegal discrimination or retaliation took place and deny that the termination was wrongful. Other than that, the school has refused to comment on the case. San Jose State hired a new coach for these teams just two days after firing the former coach.
Under California law, it is illegal for employers to fire people because of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or national origin. Nor can employers retaliate against employees by firing them for complaining about illegal discrimination. These forms of illegal discrimination are not tolerated under employee laws. If employees have suffered from wrongful termination, then they may be entitled to damages including back pay.
Source: Lawyers and Settlements, “When a Contract Is Terminated, Is There California Wrongful Termination?,” Jane Mundy, July 11, 2013