Can my employer fire me for filing a discrimination claim?

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Can my employer fire me for filing a discrimination claim?

No, it is unlawful for your employer to fire you for filing a discrimination claim. If you are fired after you report discrimination in the workplace, you may have a case against your company for wrongful termination and retaliation.

Retaliation occurs when an employer punishes an employee for participating in a legally protected activity, such as reporting discrimination. The discrimination must be related to your “protected class”—for example, your race, national origin, color, age, sex, sexual orientation or identity, religion, family status, military status, medical condition, disability or pregnancy.

Retaliation is not illegal, however, when the employee complains of something not protected by the law. For example, if you complain that your boss micromanages you and you are fired, the law will not help you because micromanaging is not illegal. You might argue that your boss is micromanaging you because of your protected class, but your case will be difficult to prove without some evidence of this discrimination.

It is not likely that your employer will admit to firing you because of your discrimination claim. However, if the employer gives no reason for firing you, or gives a reason that appears false, then it could lead to the conclusion that the real reason for firing you was that you complained of discrimination. For example, if you are “laid off,” but no one else was terminated, or your job is re-posted, then the employer’s story may be a false pretext. Or if you were let go for “performance issues” that are minor, false, or if you have a long track record of successful performance, or the employer did not follow “progressive discipline” (i.e., warning, write-up, performance improvement plan, before termination) then that could also be a pretext.

If you suspect you have been fired in retaliation for filing a discrimination claim, discuss your situation with a knowledgeable San Francisco employment lawyer. McCormack Law Firm can answer your questions and help you determine if you have a case against your employer.

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