California is a very employee-friendly state, meaning there are several laws that protect employees and prospective employees from things like harassment and discrimination. In addition to these common issues, there are several bases on which employees can file lawsuits against their employers for misconduct.
California prohibits discrimination against individuals in several protected categories, which include age, gender, race, and sexual orientation. Though employers are not, generally, prohibited from mistreating their employees indiscriminately, severe bullying may justify a lawsuit if the employee experiences significant emotional distress.
Not only does California law prohibit employers from terminating an employee for having a protected characteristic or making a protected complaint, but other laws and public policy provide that termination can be wrongful based on other factors, such as being a whistleblower. Individuals may also file a claim against their employer for wrongful termination if they are terminated for sustaining an injury at work. When this happens on the job, an employee may also file a claim if he or she is not provided with paperwork to file a workers’ compensation claim or if the claim is denied.
Employees who feel they have been mistreated at work or wrongfully terminated may want to consult with an employment law attorney. In order to create the strongest case possible, employees should document, including emails and photos, any improper conduct that occurs in the workplace, such as acts of harassment. They should also make attempts to resolve problems internally first, such as by complaining to HR. If HR fails to take any action, this fact can be added to a complaint that is ultimately filed against the employer.