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California wrongful termination investigation leads to fines

The loss of a job can be devastating for a California worker and his or her family. Often there are signs that layoffs are impending or that one’s job performance is in question, but sometimes the termination comes without warning leaving no time to prepare. When it is a case of wrongful termination, it is even more frustrating.

Recently an agricultural firm fired 18 people. The firing was flagged in an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor due to the fact that the firm was operating under the heavily regulated H-2A guest worker program. This federal program allows businesses to hire temporary, seasonal help from foreign countries under specific conditions.

One of the regulations is that American citizens be considered first for job openings, and that no American can be wrongfully dismissed from the job. The company claimed the 18 American workers who were fired were failing to meet their quotas, but the investigation showed that the employees exceeded the performances of the foreign workers in the firm. The company was made to pay $180,000 in back wages and over $50,000 in fines.

Losing one’s job in California may mean months of fruitless search for work, unpaid bills and mounting debt. These are made even more exasperating if one feels the job loss was undeserved or due to some retaliation. Workers who feel they have been fired without cause may wish to consult an attorney. An experienced lawyer will understand the nuances of employment law, help the worker know if he or she has a wrongful termination claim and seek the maximum compensation.

Source: Gilroy, Ca. Patch, “Salinas Agricultural Firm Paid $180,000 In Back Wages After Federal Probe“, June 13, 2016