Alan Cohen Law

Wrongful Termination

Practice Areas
Wrongful Termination

San Francisco Wrongful Termination Attorney

California, like almost all states, is an at-will employment state. This means employees can be fired for any lawful reason or no reason at all. Conversely, employees can also quit their job at any time for no reason at all. Neither the employer nor the employee is bound by employment. However, wrongful termination is an exception and refers to firing an employee for reasons that violate local, state, or federal laws. It could also involve a violation of the terms of an employment agreement.

Employers often use ‘at will’ employment to justify letting an employee go, but if your employer has violated the law, you do have legal recourse. At the Law Offices of Alan F. Cohen, our San Francisco employment law attorney has more than twenty years of experience representing clients who have been wrongfully terminated. We can advise you on your rights in filing a claim.  

What Qualifies as Wrongful Termination?

Under California’s Labor Code, employers can fire an employee for any reason or even no reason at all and are not required to give any advance notice. However, under some circumstances, firing an employee may violate federal or state laws or regulations.

Determining if a termination was unlawful can be difficult, and wrongful terminations can happen in a number of ways. Here are some common scenarios we’ve helped clients resolve:

  • Termination after the employee requested a reasonable accommodation for disability.
  • Termination in retaliation for asking to be paid overtime or other earned but unpaid wages.
  • Termination for complaining about sexual harassment.
  • Termination that violates the terms of an employment contract.
  • Being terminated after opposing or refusing to engage in activities that are unsafe or illegal.
  • Termination in retaliation for filing a whistleblower’s claim.
  • Termination that is discriminatory in nature and based on protected characteristics, such as age, race, religion, nation of origin, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation.  

The best way to determine if your particular situation constitutes wrongful termination is to consult with an experienced employment lawyer. 

Filing a Wrongful Termination Claim

Since there are several state and federal laws that govern employment, the process for filing a claim of wrongful termination will vary depending on the circumstances of each case and the exact law that has been violated. In many instances, it is necessary to first file a formal complaint or claim with a state agency, while other cases may proceed straight to a lawsuit. Because the time to file such complaints may be limited, it is important to discuss your situation with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible.

Employers who are found liable for wrongful termination can face serious penalties. While each case is different, a successful wrongful termination claim could result in the following: 

  • Payment for lost wages and benefits;
  • Compensation for emotional distress;
  • Reimbursement for legal or other expenses;
  • Punitive damages, which are designed to punish the employer and send a message discouraging others from engaging in similar behavior;
  • Reinstatement to the employee’s prior position or a similar job.

Contact Our Wrongful Termination Lawyer Today

To discuss your case and find out if you have grounds to take action against your employer for wrongful termination, reach out to the Law Offices of Alan F. Cohen today. Call our office or contact us online and request a free consultation to get started.

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Alan F. Cohen

San Francisco Employment Lawyer

Alan F. Cohen


Alan F. Cohen

For 25 years, Alan Cohen has provided fierce advocacy and sophisticated employment representation to Bay Area employees. Mr.Cohen has recovered millions of dollars in damages, negotiated hundreds of severance and employment agreements, and protected the jobs and rights of all kinds of workers. From fast-food workers to CEOs, he has dedicated his career to protecting employees at every level. Mr.Cohen’s deep knowledge of employment law and creative, committed advocacy give his clients an edge in any dispute. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is. He regularly represents and counsels employees throughout California against the biggest law firms and corporations in the world.

“I am so grateful that I reached out to Alan when I did. I was
pushed out of my last job and about to accept a measly severance
when a friend of mine referred me to Alan. I wasn’t sure if I had a
case, but after reviewing the materials I sent to him he assured me
that we could get more than what was being offered…”
Candace L.

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