You've done some good research into general law.
A covenant of good faith and fair dealing is implied by law in all contracts. Broadly stated, the covenant requires that neither party do anything to deprive the other of the benefits of the agreement. Foley v. Interactive Data Corp. (1988) 47 Cal.3d 654, 683-684, 254 Cal.Rptr. 211, 227-228; Rest.2d Contracts § 205.
In the employment context, the implied covenant prevents the employer from frustrating the employee's enjoyment of rights provided by the contract, including the right to continued employment absent good cause for discharge. Kelecheva v. Multivision Cable T.V. Corp. (1993) 18 Cal.App.4th 521, 531-532, 22 Cal.Rptr.2d 453, 459; see Kuhn v. Department of Gen. Services, supra, 22 Cal.App.4th at 1638, 29 Cal.Rptr.2d at 196.
However (and this is a big
however), before the implied covenant comes into play, it must be shown that the employer promised the benefits sought by the employee. Thus, where the employer is claimed to have breached the implied covenant by terminating the employee without cause, the employee must prove that the employer expressly or impliedly promised not to do so.
Such proof, of course, would also support a breach of contract claim. Thus, the result is equally explicable in traditional contract terms. Pugh v. See's Candies, Inc. (Pugh I) (1981) 116 Cal.App.3d 311, 329, 171 Cal.Rptr. 917, 921 (disapproved on other grounds in Guz v. Bechtel Nat'l, Inc. (2000) 24 Cal.4th 317, 100 Cal.Rptr.2d 352).
In plain English, you would have to show that your former employer (1) has a written policy noticed to each employee before the commencement of work, which provides for a specific disciplinary process, in the event of an employee's failure to perform according to the employer's reasonable expectations or employee's express job description; (2) the employer failed to follow the required disciplinary process, and (3) the employee was terminated from employment as a result.
If you can prove the above-described three elements, then you can sue the employer for breach of contract. However, unless the employment policies or contracts permit prevailing party attorney's fees, then you cannot get attorney's fees compensated as part of your lawsuit. You also cannot be reinstated to your job -- your damages are limited to lost wages from the date of termination until the date that you can reasonably be expected to obtain (or you actually obtain) new employment.
For an employment rights lawyer referral, see this link.
Hope this helps.
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