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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11883
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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Am I eligible to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit, if my employer disputed my unemplo

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Am I eligible to pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit, if my employer disputed my unemployment claim and was found at fault? I was terminated, filed unemployment and the decision was in my favor. My employer terminated me after three (3) days, even though I had approved scheduled time off during that period
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. Your eligibility for unemployment benefits has little relationship to the question of whether you have a valid claim for unlawful termination. To answer the latter question, I'll need a bit more information from you.

Did you have an employment contract guaranteeing you employment for a specified period of time? Are you public sector employee?

Thanks so much for bearing with me.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Did you have an employment contract guaranteeing you employment for a specified period of time? Are you public sector employee?

Yes. I was on Family and Medical Leave through July 18, 2011. I was terminated effective July 17, 2011.
Thanks for the additional information.

You may very well have a claim for wrongful termination and you should speak with an attorney immediately.

That said, it tends to be a common misconception that the law in California prohibits employers from terminating employees who are on protected medical leave. This is not exactly true. The federal Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") and its California counterpart legislation protect employees from being terminated on the BASIS of them taking medical leave--but they do not absolutely prohibit termination of an employee on a medical leave. The difference is subtle, but quite important.

In order to prevail on a claim of wrongful termination, you will need to show that there was not a legitimate basis for your termination. If your employer can demonstrate that he or she eliminated your position by necessity, or that you were terminated as a result of discovered misconduct, a valid claim may not exist. Generally, however, California courts will be highly suspicious of any employer who terminates an employee while he or she is on protected leave.

On top of this, if you had an employment contract guaranteeing you employment for a specified period and your employer terminated your employment in violation of this agreement, you would have a claim for wrongful termination on the basis of breach of contract.

I hope that you find my response helpful, and I wish you the best of luck.

If my answer has been helpful to you, please click on the GREEN ACCEPT button directly above. I will not get credit for assisting you or receive payment for my work unless you do this. Your question will not close after you click "accept," and you will still be able to ask follow-up questions if necessary.
 
The only facts I know about your situation are the ones that you tell me, so please try to be specific and bear in mind that, occasionally, miscommunications will occur. I will do everything I can to clarify my answer if I have misunderstood your question. Also bear in mind that the law does not always read how we think it should. I ask that you be understanding if an opinion I have provided is not consistent with what you wanted to hear.
 
Finally, the information that I have provided is not legal advice. I am not acting as your attorney and my answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. I encourage you to consult with a local attorney in regard to legal matters.
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