San Rafael Wrongful Termination Lawyers Help Employees

All employees deserve to be treated fairly by their employers.

Regrettably, it's not uncommon for employers to sidestep legal obligations. At the McCormack Law Firm, Bryan McCormack, a dedicated San Rafael employment attorney, vigorously tackles wrongful termination cases against a wide range of employers. With more than 20 years of experience in defending employees who have been unjustly treated by their employers, Attorney McCormack boasts a successful history in various facets of California employment law.

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Employee wrongfully terminated

If you have been wrongfully terminated in San Rafael, you may be entitled to compensation, including compensatory and punitive damages.

California is an at-will employment state

California is an at-will employment state but San Rafael employers cannot fire an employee for an illegal reason, including:

  • Violation of state or federal anti-discrimination laws

  • Retaliation for making a discrimination or harassment claim or participating in an investigation

  • Reporting workplace safety violations

  • Requesting payment of due wages, overtime, or commissions

  • Reporting any other illegal acts by an employer or its managers, employees, or agents

The San Rafael Attorneys at McCormack Law Firm will work tirelessly until you have justice.

Losing a job can lead to devastating effects for an employee and their family. The immediate cessation of income forces the terminated individual into the challenging position of seeking new employment, a task often complicated by the stigma of having been dismissed. Talk to one of our wrongful termination attorneys in San Rafael today. The consultation is free.

Discrimination is One of the Leading Causes of Wrongful Terminations

According to the EOCC, in recent years a total of 414,235 discrimination cases were filed. These included 140,440 race discrimination complaints, 127,122 sex discrimination complaints, and 130,722 disability discrimination complaints.

These complaints break down in similar proportions with 33.9 percent of total discrimination cases being race discrimination complaints, 30.6 percent being sex discrimination complaints, and 31.6 percent being disability discrimination complaints.

Race discrimination complaints are most common:

Most common types of workplace discrimination

Older employees are at a higher risk of being terminated

Glassdoor's data reveals that 61 percent of survey participants have either directly experienced or witnessed discrimination at work. Furthermore, 48 percent of employees aged 50 and above have encountered or observed age discrimination in their workplace.

Additionally, more than 60 percent of individuals aged 70 and above have faced unexpected job loss at some stage in their careers.

What is wrongful termination in San Rafael and throughout California?

It's commonly understood that California operates under "at-will" employment laws, allowing both employees and employers to end their working relationship at any moment, with or without a specific "cause." This means your employer has the capacity to dismiss you instantly, without prior warning, for any reason—or even for no reason. Being terminated based on an unjust or incorrect reason doesn't automatically strengthen your case, unless your situation qualifies as an exception to the at-will employment principle.

Exceptions to at-will employment in California

Under California law, there are several exceptions to the at-will employment arrangement. For example, the following employees in cities like San Rafael, CA may not be considered an at-will employee:

Employees in the public sector

Public sector employees are not bound by the at-will rule.

Employees belonging to a labor union

Or, those covered by a collective bargaining agreement stating that the at-will rule does not apply.

Employees with certain contracts

Employees with written employment contracts requiring “good cause” for termination.

Certain employer actions

Employees whose employers’ actions overcome the presumption of at-will employment.

No employee in San Rafael, California may be fired for an illegal reason, including:

Being a member of a protected class

Including race, color, disability, medical condition, sex, national origin, age, family status, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information or veteran status

Reporting in good faith

Complaining in good faith of discrimination or harassment, or participating in an investigation, or reporting any other illegal activity.

Requesting payment

Requesting payment of all due wages, overtime or commissions

Independent contractor status

While independent contractors may not have all of these protections, many contractors are misclassified, and it is best to check with an employment attorney.

The McCormack Law Firm has over 20 years’ experience in successfully helping employees hold their employer accountable for illegal actions. Call for a free consultation today or fill out our contact form.

Retaliation claims against San Rafael California employers

San Francisco workplace protection lawyer

Data indicates that most individuals facing discrimination or safety breaches at work choose not to report these issues, frequently out of concern for losing their jobs.

According to both state and federal regulations, employers in California are prohibited from terminating an employee for engaging in any of the following activities:

  • Reported workplace discrimination or harassment

  • Resisted sexual harassment, or protested any inappropriate, sexually-themed workplace activity

  • Requested pregnancy leave

  • Used company sick leave, or requested time off under California Paid Sick Leave

  • Requested medical leave to care for a serious health condition, a sick loved one or newborn baby

  • Requesting an employer provide a legally-required meal or rest breaks

What if I think I have been wrongfully terminated?

Frequently, employees can detect hints from their employers indicating a potential dismissal. Those who fear they might be terminated have the option to take specific measures in advance to safeguard their rights:


Document Everything

Should an employee challenge an employer’s decision to terminate them, it will be important that the employee has documentation of what was going on at the time immediately before they were fired. Employees should document, in writing, all illegal activity that they have witnessed and send it to a supervisor or the human resources department. Always keep a separate copy of these records not on a work computer.


Obtain records

Without violating the law, employees should obtain all relevant records related to their claim. This may include performance evaluations, timecards, pay stubs, internal memos or emails, and copies of the company’s policies.


Be cooperative

If an employer responds to a complaint by initiating an investigation, an employee should fully cooperate. An employee’s failure to do so could result in the employer using that fact against the employee later on. However, employees should document as accurately as possible the conversations related to the investigation.


Keep calm

While it will be difficult, employees should try to stay polite and professional, even if their employer is not. An employee who loses their temper at work might end up giving the employer a valid reason to terminate their employment.


Gather witnesses

If any other employees, customers, vendors or other people in the workplace witnessed any of the employer’s illegal activity or comments, employees should be sure to obtain their name and contact information.


Stand up for your rights

Often, employers who start to “see the writing on the wall” will offer an employee a severance package if they are willing to sign away their rights to pursue an employment claim. While that may seem to be an easy solution to the problem, the nominal amount of money obtained may be only a fraction of what a claim is worth. Additionally, by keeping quiet an employee is implicitly allowing the employer to continue their illegal employment practices..

Tips for handling retaliation and wrongful termination for employees in San Rafael

Tell your story

Employers often assert that an employee was dismissed for valid reasons such as poor performance, when in reality, the termination was retaliatory. Firing an employee who has raised concerns about illegal activities throws the employer's justification into question.

The crux of the matter hinges on the narrative's credibility: whether the employee was a whistleblower facing retaliation or simply an underperforming worker rightfully terminated. Employees with a long tenure or a solid performance record generally have more substantial claims. Nonetheless, even employees with a brief tenure can present a compelling case if the retaliation they faced was particularly severe.

Afraid of being fired?

A recent survey revealed that almost half of all workers are worried about being dismissed or laid off soon. This concern is even more pronounced among younger employees, especially millennials, where a higher percentage express apprehension. It's important to note, however, that an employee cannot pursue a wrongful termination claim until after they've been let go.

For those who have been terminated, seeking legal advice is a crucial step towards holding an employer responsible. Employers typically won't acknowledge wrongful dismissal, often providing elaborate explanations for their decision. With the support of a skilled California employment attorney, fired employees can initiate a comprehensive investigation to uncover the real reasons behind their termination.

What if I was laid off?

If an employer has a valid business justification for firing someone, a wrongful termination lawsuit might not succeed, even if the employee experienced harm. Courts often consider mass layoffs to be a legitimate reason for termination. Nonetheless, your case could still be strong if, for example, you were the sole person laid off in your company or department, or if the employer hired someone else to fill your position shortly after claiming to lay you off.

Wrongful Termination Frequently Asked Questions

Contact an Experienced San Rafael Wrongful Termination Lawyer Today

If you have been fired, and you believe that your former employer did so based on an illegal reason, you may be entitled to compensation through a California wrongful termination lawsuit. At the McCormack Law Firm, Attorney Bryan McCormack has been representing employees in wrongful termination lawsuits for the past 20 years.

You have the right to be treated fairly by your employer

Bryan. McCormack has a keen understanding of employers’ legal responsibilities, and will perform the diligent, painstaking work required to uncover the truth behind an employer’s actions. Regardless of your job title, the number of hours you work, or how much you are paid, you have the right to be treated fairly by your employer. We handle all types of California employment law claims, including wrongful termination claims, sexual harassment claims and retaliation claims. We also handle wage theft, unpaid overtime, commissions, missed meal breaks and many other employment issues. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation to speak with an attorney about your situation, call (415) 925-5161.

Client testimonials

This law firm was the only one to answer the phone out of the 15-20 law firms that I called that day. I had a wrongful termination case and Bryan really took the time to listen and understand what happened in my situation, and he knows the law to a T. – Shanic M.

I was owed wages and overtime and my employer refused to pay me. So I hired them to file a lawsuit. Bryan easily understood my very complicated case and I am happy with the results. – Ebi Z.

I didn’t have to pay anything, the firm took the whole risk of managing the case. Through the 14 months, Bryan always kept me updated, was very responsive and patient to questions I had. We achieved a resolution out of court in my favor, making me even happier about the experience. – Peter S.

I can honestly say that my experience with Bryan was all the way positive from day one… We had very high expectations about our case and in the end we got what we hoped for. – Roger J.

I won my trial and I got more than I expected. Everyone in the office is so nice and helpful. Even after everything was finished I could call a few weeks after and ask questions to make sure I was protected and they are more than helpful. – Husain N.

I never had to pay Bryan anything up front, nor was ever pressured to settle early. We ended up settling morning of the trial. Bryan is a really sharp, aggressive, seasoned attorney and knew the law inside and out about whistleblower cases. – Kyle B.