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When is it not OK to lose you job during an economic downturn?

In the last couple months, the United States has been in an unprecedented situation. With so many businesses shutting down to slow the spread of coronavirus, millions of employees have found themselves out of work. They've either been furloughed until their workplace can reopen fully or lost their job entirely.

At-will employment and wrongful termination

Because California is an at-will employment state, employees can lose their job at any time. Employers don't need to give a reason for it. However, employees still have protection from wrongful termination. That means employees lose their job solely because of

· Their gender

· Their race

· Their disability

· Their age

· Their religious beliefs

· Their sexual orientation

· Reporting a sexual harassment or discrimination claim or supporting a sexual harassment, whistleblower or discrimination claim

· Taking family leave or medical leave

· Being pregnant

So, as an example, an employer can't use an economic downturn as an excuse to get rid of a disabled employee or a gay employee. Those who are let go shouldn't be just the Hispanic employees or the Muslim workers.

Nondiscriminatory hiring

When the economy begins to rebound, employers also must hire employees in a nondiscriminatory way. As a result, employers can't avoid hiring someone because of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or religious beliefs.

Even job listings need to stay neutral about what type of applicants should apply. They shouldn't mention the job would be good for women workers or younger employees.

If someone with a disability applies for a job and needs an accommodation for an interview, such as a deaf applicant needing a sign language interpreter, an employer must provide one unless it would cause the employer significant difficulty or expense.

If you suspect you lost your job because of wrongful termination, you should contact an experienced employment law an attorney. An attorney can help determine how strong your case is and what compensation you may be eligible for because of wrongfully losing your job. Lawsuits over wrongful termination or because of a company's discriminatory hiring practices are important because they help ensure the workplace treats all workers fairly.

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