Hello! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney with more than 18 years of experience. I am here to assist you with your questions. Please understand that if I ask you for additional information, you are NOT charged again and our communications are NOT timed. So please see this as a relaxed conversation between friends. I am here to help
Also, if you would like to chat on the phone, let me know and I can make that happen.
I am sorry for this dilemma. And even more sorry to have to bear bad news. But I am going to assume you want a frank answer.
Let me address your questions in order
a) Is it legal just to get rid of somebody without cause, because a boss favors another employee for your job?
CA is an "at will" state for employment law matters.
"at will" state...In an "at will" employer/employee relationship, either side can end the relationship (the employer can fire the employee or the employee can quit) "at will". As an "at will" employee, absent contract (like through a union) your options are limited. Your employer can fire you for a good reason, or no reason at all. The only thing that they can not do is fire for a "bad" reason. A "bad" reason would be if they fired you based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion or gender some other protected class (like if you were a "whistleblower")
Here, if they fired you because they did not like you or liked someone more, you would not have grounds to sue.
b) what rights do I have? Am I entitled to a severance and what would be considered fair compensation typically in California?
As I described above, absent a union contract (if you were a union employee), unless you have evidence they fired you because of a protected status? You have no right to a severance.
Now...MANY employers will offer a severance to prevent an employee from suing. It may be you can broach this topic with the employer (agree to drop any potential suit in return for a severance) to see if they will offer a severance.
This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could tell you that you have grounds to sue, but I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you...I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!
Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.