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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
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Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I believe that i have an excellent case for wrongful termination.

Resolved Question:

I believe that i have an excellent case for wrongful termination. I was given very little information regarding the reason behind the lay off other than the position was being eliminated. Less than 4 hours after i was informed that the position was being eliminated a meeting with my former direct reports and a vendor relation manager was scheduled. They were told that he was their new boss and that he was now reporting to my old boss. This would be under the same cost center that my position was just eliminated. Jaime (new boss) informed them that his new title was Manager Corporate Procurement and Travel. This was my title. Question : if the position was eliminated then why did the fill it so quickly. In addition i have a e-mail that was sent from this "new" manager that was sent to my vendor base telling them that i was no longer working for the company and that he was going to be interviewing candidates for his replacement

It appears that my position has already been replaced in the same cost center by someone that does not have the same cost saving track record for Procurement and Travel that i have.

I was told on Monday 10/31 that the department was reviewed and that my position was being eliminated along with the Travel manager that i was managing. I managed Corporate procurement. I was informed at 10:30 that my position was being eliminated. Less than 4 hours later a meeting was called with my former direct reports and they were told that
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 5 years ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question.

Generally speaking, wrongful termination of an at-will employee is difficult to prove because unless an employee is hired pursuant to a union contract or an individual employment contract, the employer-employee relationship in California is presumed to be "at will." (See California Labor Code Section 2922) An "at will" relationship basically means that an employer can fire someone for any reason other than one based on discrimination or other illegal reason, such as when someone refuses to engage in illegal activity and is fired as a result.

In regard to discrimination, California employers are prohibited from firing an employee on the basis of his or her accent, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or physical limitations. Similarly, an employer can't discriminate against an employee for such things as refusing to acknowledge or complaining about unwanted sexual conduct (this is sexual harassment), requesting a reasonable accommodation for his disability (this is disability discrimination), or his age (this is age discrimination). A claim for discrimination will only exist if you were terminated or demoted on the basis of you being part of a protected class--not simply because you think that you termination was unfair under the circumstances. This is because, as I said above, employment in California is generally "at-will," meaning your employer can terminate you for whatever reason he wants that does not otherwise constitute a violation of law.

To establish an initial claim for discrimination, the employee has the burden of proving that he was within a protected a class (over 40, for example), that he was performing satisfactorily, and that he was terminated or demoted under circumstances which give rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination.

The fact that your company simply misled you that you position was being eliminated rather than that you were being terminated does not, itself, satisfy the test for discrimination. As unfair and disrespectful as this may have been to you, you will need to show that your company's motivation for letting you to go had something to do with you being a woman, being a minority, being homosexual, etc. For a full list of protected classes, see California Gov’t Code § 12900 et seq.

I realize this is not the news you were hoping to hear, but I hope that you appreciate receiving an accurate legal answer to your question and I hope that you will click "accept" so that I can get paid for my time if my answer has been sufficiently clear. I wish you the best of luck.


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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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