In the most basic sense, wrongful termination means that an employee has been terminated in violation of their legal rights. Although California is generally an “at-will” employment state where employers can terminate their employees without justification certain qualifications do in fact apply.
Violations of Public Policy
A termination is wrongful if the firing is considered in violation of public policy i.e. that society (and the law) has recognized that in particular circumstances termination should not permitted. For example, an employee cannot be fired for refusing to do something illegal, in [retaliation] for engaging in protected activity, or for asserting a claim under [wage and hour laws].
Under the California Fair Employment and House Act (“FEHA”) wrongful termination exists where the termination is as a result of discrimination on the basis of [age], [race], [gender], [pregnancy], sexual orientation, [disability], marital status, or religion.