You felt like something wasn’t right at work lately. A new manager was brought in, and for the first time in three years, you were written up. Just a week after the first write-up, you were given another warning for your “poor behavior” in the workplace. The thing is, nothing has changed.

You still do your job the same way, and you and other employees are acting similarly. The only difference you see is that you’re the only person who isn’t white. When you’d finally had enough of the issues with your manager, you went to the human resources team and asked them to investigate. A day later, you had a termination notice on your desk. 

It is illegal to discharge (fire) someone when that decision is made based on:

  • Disability
  • Pregnancy
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Sexual orientation
  • Country of national origin
  • Religion

As an employee, you’re protected against termination for any of those reasons. Your employer cannot terminate you just because you complained about unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment, either. If you were terminated after asserting your legal rights, know that you may have been retaliated against and may have a claim against your employer. 

Even though California is an at-will state, that doesn’t mean that employers have the right to be discriminatory or retaliatory. While they are free to let you go at any time with no reason given, there are always going to be exceptions. If you note that you’re being treated differently because you’re pregnant, gay, Asian, from another country or fall into any of the above-protected categories, then you may want to begin writing down the dates the problems occur and who they involve. Go to your human resources department and make sure they are informed of your problems. If nothing is done, you are terminated or you continue to face discrimination or harassment, you may then be able to reach out to your attorney.