At my (now former) company, we use a metric called SHOT to track the performance within a portfolio. It's some in-house calculation no one else uses, but it's been around for like 20 years even though no one remembers what the acronym is supposed to mean. My task was to average it over a time period, with various user-defined smoothing parameters... to accumulate it, in essence.
So, I don't like long variable names like "accumulated_shot_metric" or "sum_of_SHOT_so_far" for what is ultimately just the cumulated SHOT value. So I gave it the short name, "cumShot", not thinking twice about it, and checked it into the code. Seeing that it passed all tests, I went home and forgot about it.
Two months later, today, my boss called me into a meeting with HR. I had no idea what was going on, but apparently, the "cumShot" variable had become a running joke behind my back. Someone had given a printout to the CEO, who became angry over my "unprofessional humor" and fired me. I didn't even know what anyone was talking about until I saw the printout. I use abbreviated variable names all the time, and I'm not a native speaker of English so I don't always know what slang is offensive.
I live in California. Do I have any legal recourse? Also, how should I explain this in future job interviews?