What Does It Mean That My Employer Must Have Good Cause To Fire Me?
Most people in California are at-will employees, and their employers can fire them for a bad reason or no reason at all. However, if you have a written, oral, or implied contract, your employer may not be able to terminate you unless there is good cause to do so. This could give you the right to sue your employer for wrongful termination. But what does the term “good cause” really mean in terms of your situation?
What Is Good Cause to Terminate You?
Under California employment law, good cause means that the employer must have “fair and honest reasons, regulated by good faith on the part of the employer, that are not trivial, arbitrary, or capricious, unrelated to business needs or goals, or pre-textual.” The employer must have a good reason for wanting to fire an employee based on an adequate investigation and after giving the employee notice and an opportunity to respond. Examples of employee behaviors that could justify a termination include:
- Poor job performance
- Lack of productivity
- Refusal or difficulty following instructions
- Habitual tardiness
- Too many absences from work
- Possession of a weapon at work
- Threats of violence against co-workers or others
- Violations of company rules and policies
- Theft or another criminal activity
- Actions endangering health and safety of employees and others
- Disclosure of company trade secrets
- Harassment of co-workers or others
- Disruption of the work environment
- Interference keeping other workers from performing their jobs
You should keep in mind that it is also illegal for an employer to discriminate against you if you are in a protected class, like race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and federal civil rights laws.
Did your employer fire you without good cause? Your first step should be to contact an experienced employment discrimination attorney. Call our firm today at 949-679-9909 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with Corbett Williams.