San Diego Wrongful Termination Lawyer

Experienced San Diego Wrongful Termination Attorney Ready To Help You

Also Serving Solana Beach and Representing Clients Across California, Including LA County, Palm Springs, Indio, Lancaster, and More

Have you been the victim of employment discrimination wrongful termination? San Diego County wrongful termination lawyer John W. Dalton has fought to get victims of wrongful termination the compensation they deserve for over 25 years. John’s Solana Beach, California-based law practice is plaintiff-focused, helping victims like you file wrongful termination claims and achieve the results you need to be made whole.

When filing a wrongful termination lawsuit, you need a San Diego wrongful termination attorney who is ready and willing to go to trial for you. John is an experienced trial lawyer who has secured some of the largest verdicts in employment law cases in the State of California.

A Record of Success

When choosing an attorney, you want to hire one with a winning history. John Dalton’s record at trial speaks for itself. John has secured trial verdicts for his clients totaling tens of millions of dollars. Several of John’s cases have even been featured in the national news including Primetime Live with Chris Wallace and NOW on PBS (Is Your Daughter Safe at Work?).

Your Rights as a California Employee

No one wants to be fired. Unfortunately, people are fired all the time, often for unlawful reasons. Job loss is common in these strange times we’re living in. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American economy lost nearly 3 million jobs between 2020 and 2022. It’s fair to question whether your termination was justified and lawful!

Being fired—even if it is justified—is an awful experience. However, being unlawfully dismissed is far worse. The good news is that you have rights under the law that protect you when you have been fired for discriminatory and unlawful reasons.

If you think your employer has terminated you wrongfully, you can obtain compensation.  Our firm is committed to helping you in the fight for justice in a wrongful termination claim. We can work with you to ensure that you receive appropriate compensation for your losses. Call our experienced San Diego wrongful termination lawyer today!

Understanding at-Will Employment in California

To understand what wrongful termination is, it’s critical to know how employment laws work.

In the United States, the way the law views the default relationship between an employer and an employee varies by state.

Most states presume that employees work “at-will” for their employer. At-will employees can quit whenever they want. But employers don’t have to fire at-will employees “for cause.” The employer can terminate an at-will employee at any time and for any lawful reason. However, terminating an employee for an unlawful reason can form the basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

California is an at-will employment state. This means that “at-will” employment in California is presumed for all employees unless there is a written contract that restricts the employers’ ability to fire them.

Although employers have wide latitude in discharging employees in at-will employment states, their power is not unlimited. In states like California, there are laws that protect employees’ rights and create a list of reasons that employers cannot fire employees. If you have been wrongfully terminated, call us and share your story in a free consultation. Our knowledgeable San Diego wrongful discharge lawyer will help you assess if you have a case and the next steps to take.

What Is Considered Wrongful Termination in California?

Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for any reason that violates the employee’s legal rights. What constitutes wrongful termination in California can include many situations.

Below are three common wrongful dismissal situations.

1. Wrongful Termination Based on Protected Class

A “protected class” refers to a group of people who share a common characteristic. The list of protected classes is defined by specific anti-discrimination laws.

In California, both federal and state anti-discrimination laws apply. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) is the name of the California anti-discrimination law. Its list of protected classes includes all those contained in federal anti-discrimination laws as well as several others.

The list of protected classes created by FEHA includes the following:

  • Race,
  • Color,
  • Religion,
  • Ancestry,
  • Sex,
  • Gender,
  • Gender identity,
  • Gender expression,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • Disability (both mental and physical),
  • Medical condition,
  • Genetic information,
  • National origin,
  • Military/veteran status, and
  • Age.

FEHA further prohibits any retaliation against any person for alleging a violation of FEHA. If your employer discharged you based on your membership in any of these classes, it constitutes wrongful termination. Speaking with a San Diego wrongful termination attorney can help you assess the strength of your claim.

2. Wrongful Termination Based on Using Leave

FEHA also protects you from wrongful dismissal for using leave offered to you by law.

One example is sick leave. California law states that you have the right to paid sick leave if you or a family member needs medical care. This includes care for both existing and new medical conditions as well as preventative care.

Your employer also cannot fire you for requesting leave under the California Family Rights Act (CFRA). The CFRA entitles all California employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave to deal with a serious health condition or provide care for a family member with a serious health condition.

3. Wrongful Termination for Reporting a Violation of the Law

California termination laws also protect employees who report what they reasonably believe to be a violation of a state or federal law, rule, or regulation.

Employers who retaliate against employees that report wrongdoing (commonly called whistleblowers) may have to pay heavy civil fines. On occasion, employers have had to pay millions of dollars for retaliating against whistleblowers.

Do not worry if your situation does not fall under one of these three examples. These situations are not exhaustive. A qualified San Diego County wrongful termination lawyer will be familiar with these scenarios as well as any others that constitute wrongful termination.

Tens of Millions of Dollars Recovered for Our Clients

$1,250,000.00 MORAN V. SHAH MANAGEMENT, INC. Jury Verdict + $863,995 in attorney's fees and costs including a multiplier of 1.5; sex discrimination/harassment; Riverside County Superior Court
$2,600,000.00 MARCISZ ET AL. V. ULTRASTAR CINEMAS Sex discrimination/harassment; San Diego County Superior Court; hourly rate of $525 approved ($1,300,000 Attorneys’ Fees and Costs Award, plus a multiplier of 2.0 for a total award of $2,600,000)
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What Should I Do If My Employer Has Wrongfully Discharged Me?

If you suspect that your employer has wrongfully discharged you, there are several essential steps you should take.

Stay Calm

After you have been wrongfully discharged, it is only natural that you will feel angry and betrayed. However, you must do everything you can to stay calm. Even if your employer has acted terribly towards you, you should not do anything illegal or unethical in retaliation. Instead, focus on taking actions that will help you win your case against your employer. Posting an angry social media rant might feel good in the moment. However, it can harm your wrongful termination claim in the long run.

Ask Your Employer Why They Terminated You

You can make your case much easier by getting your employer’s reasons for firing you on record. Sometimes, an employer will openly admit that it terminated an employee for an unlawful reason. At other times, the employer will provide one initial reason to the employee and then try to flip-flop after the employee hires a wrongful termination attorney.

Document Everything

Record everything you can relating to your wrongful dismissal. This includes the basics—where you worked, who you worked for, and what your job was—as well as the key players in your situation. Gather as much information from your personnel record as you can. Specific items include performance evaluations, emails and written conversations with your supervisor and co-workers, and anything else you think is relevant.

Should I Hire a Wrongful Termination Lawyer for My Case?

Hiring a San Diego wrongful termination attorney is generally one of the best things you can do after your employer unlawfully terminates you. But not all attorneys are the same.

At the John W. Dalton Law Offices, we understand how wrongful dismissal can turn your life upside down. It’s difficult enough to deal with the pain and trauma of losing your job. Let us take the fight to your employer and help you earn what you deserve.

John is a dedicated and experienced wrongful termination legal practitioner in California who will be able to discuss your rights and legal options with you. He can also advocate for your best interests and help you stand up for your rights.

Even if you still aren’t sure whether you should file a lawsuit against your employer, take a moment to contact us to set up an initial consultation. Don’t wait. Give us a call today. We also handle clients with other types of employment cases, including unsettled overtimesexual misconduct, and work discrimination.