Benchmark Institute is a training and performance development organization dedicated to increasing the quality and quantity of legal services to low-income communities.
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Wrongful Termination

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Wrongful Termination
Contrary to popular belief, neither federal nor state law requires an employer to have "good cause" to discharge an employee. As a result, most job terminations do not constitute "wrongful termination". Basically, an employer can discharge an employee for any reason or no reason. This rule's exceptions are based on public policy violations or contractual agreements.

An employer cannot fire someone for reasons that violate:
• anti-discrimination provisions of state or federal laws;

• federal labor laws, e.g. in retaliation for union organizing activities;

• retaliation provisions of state laws which protect the employee's right to exercise their legal rights and file a claim with a government agency such as Labor Commissioner, DFEH, OSHA or Workers Compensation Board, for example;

• the employment contract, e.g. contract contains a "good cause" clause;

• a collective bargaining agreement;

• other public policies: for example, an employer cannot fire someone who has refused to engage in illegal activities on behalf of the employer, or who has reported such activity to the authorities.