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WRONGFUL TERMINATION IN VIOLATION OF PUBLIC POLICY

California law provides that employees may not be terminated if the employer is motivated by an unlawful reason. For example, an employer in California may not terminate an employee because of their race, gender, disability, or sexual orientation, among other unlawful categories which are called “protected classes.” Nor may an employer terminate an employee for a reason that violates a fundamental public policy in California (such as complaining about an unlawful employer practice or refusing to participate in unlawful behavior). One court has even determined that an employee may not be terminated for refusing to sign an illegal non-compete clause. [D’Sav. Playhut, Inc. (2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 927]. If an employer is motivating by an unlawful reason, the employee may sue the employer for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. This is a fairly straightforward claim which we add in cases of sex harassment or sex orientation harassment where the employee was terminated as a result of complaining about the harassment.