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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 6680
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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CH - Ryl

Customer Question

I worked for a cell phone company and was terminated for accessing a account of a person that i know. This person my ex gf, complained and they fired me. I have accessed other accounts in the past of people that i know and other employees do it all the time to make sales. Do a have a reason for wrongful termination?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. I am very sorry to hear that you were terminated under these circumstances and agree that it seems unfair.

Unfortunately, however, the laws in this area strongly favor the employer. Absent an employment contract guaranteeing employment for a specified period of time, employment in the state of California is presumed to be "at will." More specifically, California Labor Code Section 2922 provides that: "employment, having no specified term, may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other." What this means is that an employer is free to terminate employees for any reason whatsoever, even a reason that is entirely unfair, unless the underlying motivation is discriminatory (based on your race, religion, ethnicity, etc.) or otherwise in violation of California law.

Courts have made very clear through decades of caselaw that they will not be the arbiters of general claims for workplace unfairness, reasoning that if such claims were allowed to proceed that we would see hundreds a day. This is certainly not to diminish your concerns, which are justificable, but rather to explain the policy behind the law, which may assist in your understanding.

All of this is to say that even though your company's policy regarding unathorized access to accounts may not have been uniformly enforced, and even though your termination may be grossly unfair, these things are not illegal unless you can prove that the motivation was your race, religion, gender, etc.

I am terribly sorry to deliver this news to you, as I realize it is not what wanted to hear. Nonetheless, I trust that you will appreciate my limitations is explaining how the law actually operates under these circumstances, despite the law not being favorable to your circumstances. Indeed, to provide anything less would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me.

Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.

Very best wishes and happy holidays to you.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

So i have had issues with race before and have filed complaints with the eeoc. Can i turn this into a race issue ?

Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Immanuel,

Thank you very much for your reply. If you can prove that your employer's selective enforcement of this policy was really a coverup to fire you because of your race, then yes, you would have a viable discrimination claim.

An individual who believes he or she has been the subject of unlawful discrimination and wishes to file a lawsuit must first file a formal complaint of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Either the EEOC or the DFEH will issue an authorization to sue after they investigate the claim. A claimant need to file with both agencies. Finally, if an individual in your circumstance decides to sue, they must not miss their deadline. Under federal law in California, a claimant has 300 days from an act of discrimination to file a complaint.

For information on how to bring a claim through California's DFEH, visit this link: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints.htm For information on how to bring a claim through the EEOC, visit this link: http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm

Please let me know if you have any additional concerns and I will do my very best to assist you further. If I have answered your question, I would be very grateful for a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you.

Kindest regards.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Immanuel,

I am very disheartened to see that you have chosen to provide a rating of "bad service."

If you are simply frustrated about your limited options, I understand that, but I trust you have the discretion not to unfairly punish me due to the reality of the law, which of course I cannot control.

Please let me know what further assistance I can provide.

I look forward to your response.

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