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California Employment Lawyer > Sacramento Wrongful Termination Lawyer

Sacramento Wrongful Termination Lawyer

California is an “at will” employment state, which means an employer can let a worker go for almost any reason and at any time. Nevertheless, important federal and state laws do place limits on when and why an employer can terminate an employee.

When an employer violates your rights, you might have a valid legal claim. Please contact a Sacramento wrongful termination lawyer today to review your case.

Breach of Employment Contract

If you signed an employment contract, then you can only be discharged according to its terms. Many contracts contain “for cause” provisions, which grant an employer the right to terminate you for certain reasons. If an employer terminates you for another reason, then they have breached the contract.

Many contracts also lay out a progressive discipline system that employers must follow, but too many jump right to termination. This is also a violation of the contract.

Critically, sometimes an employer can create an agreement even without an employment contract. An engagement letter or worker manual could create binding legal obligations that an employer must honor.


Federal and state law prohibit discrimination on the basis of certain protected characteristics, such as:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Gender or gender identity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Religion
  • National Origin
  • Military status
  • Medical condition
  • Disability

Some discrimination is intentional. However, other actions might seem neutral on their face but disproportionately affect one group. For example, a new boss might engage in mass firing of older workers under guise of bringing in “new perspectives” or “fresh blood” when this is really age discrimination.


Many laws protect employers who engage in protected activity. For example, an employer cannot retaliate against you for reporting discrimination or harassment. Likewise, an employer cannot terminate you for reporting health and safety violations.

Many laws protect whistleblowers, who report suspected illegal activity to government agencies or to their supervisors. Unfortunately, angry employers might strike back at employees to punish them, which is illegal.

Constructive Discharge

Some workplaces become so intolerable that workers have no choice but to quit their job. In some cases, you might have a wrongful termination claim even though you chose to separate. For example, you might be subject to harassment, intimidation, and negative employment actions. Your hours could be cut or you could be moved to a less desirable location for no reason.

To succeed with a constructive discharge claim, we need to show that your employer was motivated to get you to quit and created or knew about the intolerable work conditions. Your employer’s motivations also must have been illegal, discriminatory, or retaliatory.

Can You Sue for Wrongful Termination?

Yes! However, you first must file a discrimination complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They will investigate the complaint and then issue a “right to sue” letter which give you permission to file a lawsuit in court.

We have successfully pressed wrongful termination claims against a variety of employers and succeeded in obtaining various remedies, including reinstatement, promotion, backpay, lost benefits, and compensatory damages.

Contact a Sacramento Wrongful Termination Lawyer Today

Scott Wagner and Associates, P.A. is a leading employment law firm committed to the rights of employees. If you have been illegally terminated, please contact us today to discuss your case in a confidential setting.

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* Cathleen Scott is licensed to practice in Florida only.

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