Legal Question in Employment Law in California

I was let go from my current place of employment at will, based on one verbal accusation made from another employer, during my 6 month probation period. One day before I was let go, I had a 4 month follow up meeting with my work progress, and received nothing but positive feedback from my assistant director and supervisor. I believe I was unjustly let go from my position, based on my gender and race. Do I have a case?

Asked on 12/13/12, 3:49 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

David Sarnoff Sarnoff + Sarnoff

Based on what you've written, it is unclear as to whether or not you have a case. If, as you believe, you were terminated in part because of your gender and race, then you may indeed have a case. My follow-up questions would have to be "why do you believe you were terminated because of your race and gender" and "what evidence do you have to prove your claims."

If you truly feel that your termination was unlawful, our website,, has a Confidential Online Case Evaluation Form that will ask you for certain specific information that will help us assess your legal rights. It takes about 20 minutes to complete and is completely confidential. We will review your questionnaire and get back to you.

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Answered on 12/13/12, 3:54 pm

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

In general, unless an employee is civil service, in a union, or has a written employment contract, they are an 'at will' employee that can be disciplined or terminated any time for any reason, with or without ‘cause’, explanation or notice. Plus, they stated there was some 'cause' to terminate you, and you were on probation.

'At will' rules clearly apply, UNLESS the conduct can be proven to be actually motivated by discrimination, harassment or retaliation as defined as actually ‘illegal’ under the ADA [disability], Civil Rights [age, race, sex, ethnic, religion, pregnancy, etc], FMLA [medical leave], Whistle-blower, or similar statutes.

You said nothing about what actual facts, evidence, documents or witness testimony you have that would meet your burden of proof, sufficient to show the real motive was discrimination, and to overcome their stated 'cause' and your 'at will' and probationary status. Your speculation is not evidence. Plus, I assume you were the same gender and race at the time of firing that you were at the time of hiring, and the company was aware of that. How is it that they did not discriminate against you when hiring, but did when firing?

Now if you believe you have sufficient proof on these issues, feel free to contact me for the legal help you’ll need.

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Answered on 12/13/12, 4:43 pm

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