Wrongful Termination

Oakland Wrongful Termination Lawyer

What Is Wrongful Termination?

California is an “at-will employment” state, which means that any employee can be terminated without the employer having to provide a reason. This can make it difficult to prove that your termination was wrongful.

There are, however, numerous exceptions to the “at-will” employment doctrine that give employees significant rights. Some of these exceptions include:

  • Employees who are discriminated against because of gender, age, race, religion, national origin, pregnancy, or disability.
  • Employees who are subjected to sexual or other types of harassment.
  • Employees who are retaliated against for opposing illegal practices of their employer.
  • Employees who are terminated because they take FMLA leave.
  • Employees who are not being paid proper wages and overtime.

Do you believe you may have been let go from your job illegally? Discuss your case with the Oakland wrongful termination lawyer at Benton Employment Law as soon as possible. Founding attorney Chambord Benton-Hayes is a highly accomplished attorney who is passionate about restoring the rights of her clients and ensuring California workers are treated fairly. Our staff will do everything we can to defend your legal rights and seek the just resolution you are entitled to.

The above categories are some of the more common scenarios in which employees have special legal rights, but there are many other protected categories. Pursue the compensation you deserve, call our office at (510) 650-0250 or contact us online to learn more about your legal options during a free consultation.

The Dos and Don’ts of Wrongful Termination

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, DO:

  • Get reference letters from your supervisors.
  • Ask your employer to give you a written explanation for your termination.
  • Return all company property including all company documents.
  • Seek advice from a wrongful termination lawyer if you have any questions about whether or not your termination gives rise to a legal claim.
  • Review your non-compete agreement, if any, and consult with an employment attorney about its enforceability if this is an issue for you.
  • Write down the names and contact information of other company employees who are valuable contacts or who, if you are considering legal action, may be witnesses in your case or have similar legal claims.
  • Be careful with respect to any verbal or written statements you make to company employees and remember those statements may later be used against you.


  • Openly express your anger or make any threats.
  • Sign a release of claims unless you are certain that you do not want to pursue legal action. Consult an employment lawyer first if possible.
  • Assume that you won’t be able to negotiate better terms for your severance arrangement. If possible, seek the assistance of an employment lawyer to neogtiate your severance.
  • Say or do anything that provides your employer with “cause” for your termination. Even though you may have already been given notice of your termination, continue to respect all company rules.
  • Take any company documents that are not yours, even if they’re needed to “prove your case.”
  • Send any written complaint or grievance letters to company officers, human resources (HR), or managers without first consulting an employment lawyer for advice.
  • Write any flattering letters to your boss or to the company if you are considering taking legal action.

Filing a Wrongful Termination Claim in California

If you have not received all the back wages and commissions due you, make a formal written demand on the company including your name and address where the wages and commission may be sent to you. If you still do not receive anything, see an employment attorney as soon as possible.

If you think you may have been discriminated against with regard to your termination on the basis of age, sex, religion, race, national origin, or disability, you may need to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 300 days of your first notice concerning your termination. While you can file a charge without legal representation, you should seek counsel to help you in this process.

While it may seem impossible to challenge your former employer for letting you go, both state and federal laws exist to protect you from termination under certain, “wrongful” circumstances. Benton Employment Law is prepared to zealously advocate for your rights and fight for the compensation you need and deserve.

We represent clients in Oakland and throughout Northern California. Contact us today to book your free case evaluation.

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Our Proven Success

  • Discrimination settlement.

    Achieved settlement on contentious matter on behalf of vehicle company and employee alleging racial and disability discrimination related to medical marijuana.

  • Employment Law Training

    Trained thousands of executives, managers, doctors, attorneys, and employees on ADA compliance, anti-harassment and discrimination, and other labor and employment law issues.

  • Settlement for Multi-national Coffeehouse Chain.

    Achieved settlement on contentious matter on behalf of multinational chain of coffeehouses and an employee alleging disability discrimination.

  • Settlement with EEOC.

    Achieved settlement on a contentious matter with the EEOC and Plaintiff-intervenor alleging disability discrimination on behalf of a healthcare organization.

  • Technology company settlement.

    Achieved settlement on a contentious matter on behalf of a technology company and a former executive.

  • United States District Court, N.D. Cal

    Successfully compelled enforcement of arbitration agreement on behalf of multinational chain of coffeehouses and an employee alleging disability discrimination.

  • Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento

    Obtained summary adjudication on behalf of insurance company on action alleging disability discrimination, racial discrimination, harassment, failure to prevent discrimination, failure to engage in the interactive process and punitive damages.

  • United States District Court, E.D. Cal.

    Obtained partial summary judgment on action alleging failure to provide reasonable accommodation, failure to engage in the interactive process, disability discrimination, age discrimination, wrongful termination, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and punitive damages for a technology company. Likewise, opposed Plaintiff’s cross-motion for summary judgment that was denied.

  • Exempt status from overtime wages for national retailer

    Defended manager exempt status from overtime wages for national retailer obtaining a “take nothing” Order, Decision, and Award from the DLSE.

  • Achieved settlement disability discrimination case.