Ive-Been-Fired-Has-My-Employer-Committed-Non-Biased-Wrongful-Termination.jpg (2149×1159)Getting fired is a crummy situation for anyone. It’s a hit to your self-esteem, not to mention your income and future plans. You might be sad. You might be angry. You might have a reason to be angry. Getting fired is always much worse when it’s for the wrong reasons. And it doesn’t always have to do with EEOC-related biases. In fact, many of the worst cases of wrongful termination have nothing to do with a person’s appearance, identity, or background. Often, it’s much more sinister than that.

Today, we’re here to talk about types of wrongful termination that -aren’t- the go-to EEOC examples.

EEOC Cases Have Become a Stereotype.

Usually, when you hear about wrongful termination, the topic always heavily focuses on bias. Gender, race, religion, sexuality. These are all hot-button issues. But employers also use these common cases to try and degrade the entire idea of a wrongful termination case. A woman who is fired and files for wrongful termination is automatically assumed to be accusing her boss of misogyny. An openly religious person is assumed to file only on the grounds of religious discrimination. This isn’t to say that people aren’t still fired for these bad reasons, they are. But when employers break real rules and hurt people with their management and choices (instead of their prejudice), they will often try to play off their wrongdoing by suggesting that the employee is just trying to play the race/woman/religion “card”.

EEOC-type wrongful termination cases have become a problematic stereotype. Especially if you are one of the many people who was wrongfully terminated for something completely unrelated to your gender, color, etc. And when this is true, bringing your EEOC status into the picture is just adding insult to injury. Which was what they meant to do in the first place.

Your Employer Broke Contract

If you have a written or verbal contract including a minimum employment period and were fired before that period was up, then your termination was wrongful. Both employees and employers are bound by employment contracts. And while you may have been hired ‘at-will’, if the contract says you had 6 months to get your feet under you and that was cut short, you have a valid case.

Your Employer Defied Their Own Handbook

Your employer not only has to follow federal and state laws and their own contracts, they also have to follow their own employee handbook. If the handbook says that you will get 3 warnings before risk of termination, or that you would get a PIP period before firing, then they are obligated to discipline every employee with the same defined procedure. If the procedure was changed to boot you out the door, you have been wrongfully terminated.

You Were a Whistle-Blower

Whistle-blower laws define that an employer loses their right to fire you at-will after you have filed a legitimate whistle-blower style report. You may have reported misconduct, reg violations, unsafe work environments, or a variety of problems with your workplace. But your employer is -not- allowed to fire you in order to make their problem go away or punishing you for filing a report.

Anyone in whistle-blower status if very likely to have a legitimate claim of wrongful termination if fired.

You Refused to Follow Illegal Orders

Sometimes, employers ask their staff to do illegal things. Like ‘fudge’ a financial report, ‘lose’ a piece of paperwork, or babysit the boss’ kids off the books. As a law-abiding person, it is your duty and right to refuse these orders and remind anyone involved that they are trying to break the law. If you are fired for refusing to do illegal things for your employer, or for pointing out an order’s illegality, this is wrongful termination.

You Filed a Worker’s Compensation Claim

A very common situation is when an employer tries to fire someone after they have been injured on the job. Sometimes even before they have a chance to file a worker’s compensation claim. They do this to save their precious insurance premium costs, which are placed above the value of your life and wellbeing. If you have been injured at work and were then fired (or driven to quit with intolerable working conditions), then you have been wrongfully terminated.

You Were Fired for Taking Protected Time Off (FMLA)

The final alternative form of wrongful termination relates to FMLA and military duty leave. Both are unpaid leave, meaning your employer isn’t losing any money while you take time off to care for family or return to military duty. If you have to be gone for a month or more, your employer is allowed to hire someone to pick up the slack at work. But they are not allowed to fire you or give someone else your actual position because you needed necessary time off.

Wrongful termination comes in so many shapes and sizes, and the EEOC-related biases are only a small part of that. If you have been wrongfully terminated — for any reason — please contact us today. Here at Aiman-Smith & Marcy, we are dedicated to standing up for employers who have been mistreated by businesses that think they can get away with it. Don’t let your employer get away with it. Not just for you, but for the others your employer will mistreat in the future if they’re not stopped now.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986