In the state of California, there are jobs that are listed as “at-will” employment. At-will employment essentially means that your employer reserves the right to terminate your employment at any time. However, you should note that merely because this is an option, that does not mean that all terminations are lawful, legal, or fair. In fact, many companies routinely practice unlawful terminations to preserve profits or save face in the court of public opinion. These companies should be held accountable for their actions and punished to the fullest extent of the law, and you as an employee should be fairly compensated for any damages you sustained as a result of the unlawful termination. Our expert attorneys at the California Employment Attorneys Group are well-versed in employment law and here to bring you a settlement that you deserve. We believe in equal rights for all employees and the preservation of those rights by your employer. Clients will often call us with questions about their rights after being fired or they will voice concerns over the terms of their terminations. Some of these questions include:
- What is the statute of limitations for wrongful termination in California?
- What is the deadline to sue in California for illegal firing at work?
- How long is the time limit in California to file a lawsuit against your employer for wrongful termination?
When you were hired by your employer, you may have received a contract. Often, these contracts dictate that you are at an at-will company that can terminate the contract for reasons at its behest. If, however, you signed a contract that stated that you were in a position that did not have at-will employment, you may be able to sue for unlawful termination. There can be any number of clauses in a contract that describe your continued employment, such as a section that claims you may only be fired for violating the contract or that you will have continued future employment so long as you work at the company. These types of claims are written promises, and they are among the strongest pieces of evidence you could have in a lawsuit.
A lesser piece of evidence is an implied promise. This is a statement that is not explicitly in writing but may be true if there are other factors at play. For example, if you were employed for a lengthy amount of time, received numerous promotions and pay raises, and were promised at the interview or acceptance of the job that you would have continued job security or additional opportunities, you may be able to point to them as implied promises in a lawsuit.
An attorney from the California Employment Attorneys Group can give you more information and help you file a workplace wrongful termination lawsuit.
Reasons for Unlawful Termination
There are numerous ways your employer can terminate your employment, but if it occurs in an illegal manner, you can sue for damages. Sometimes, the employer will claim that it did not fire you for the reason you perceive, that it was a long time coming or a decision that needed to be made. These statements usually hide the intent, and there is no surefire way to prove the intent without hard evidence. Your case may boil down to an exchange of opposing ideas. However, there are certain situations that may point to your termination being unlawful. Suspicious timing, as in right after a complaint, or if you are part of a pattern of terminations of a certain demographic of people, can be used as evidence.
Some different types of unlawful terminations include:
- Breach of good faith: Some employees have been fired to keep money out of their pockets and in the banks of the company (for example, retail workers who work on commission may be transferred and become ineligible to earn their commission from a previous location). Others have been fired to make room for a person willing to do the same job (and more) for less pay – a tactic that was common during the Industrial Revolution, but has since become illegal.
- Violation of public policy or social recognition: There needs to be a law to show that these firings are illegal, but they include being fired for taking leave to attend jury duty, participate in military functions or service, or to go vote.
- Discrimination: Various laws have been passed, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to guarantee that individuals are not discriminated against at work because of certain characteristics. Therefore, you cannot be fired for being a certain race or ethnicity, having a certain skin color, being a man or a woman, following a certain religion or set of beliefs, or being a certain age. Not only can you receive compensation in a workplace wrongful termination lawsuit, but you can also be certain that your employer will suffer some kind of legal consequences.
- Retaliation: In some cases, employees will alert the public, media, or necessary authority organizations to wrongdoings in the environment of their companies. This is known as whistle-blowing, and you are protected if you were showing that there were laws being broken. Additionally, you may be retaliated against for filing a complaint or bringing up a problem within the company. For example, if you were assaulted or if you issued a complaint about your boss, your employer may have decided to fire you, deny you a promotion, give you a negative performance review, dock your pay, or commit a similar act that would have an adverse effect on your job.
- Fraud: Fraud cases can be proven if your employer made a false representation or lied about an aspect of the job, an authority figure was aware of it, the intent was to deceive you, you operated according to the representation, and you were harmed because of this reliance.
- Defamation: Your reputation and status may be harmed in a wrongful termination if your employer slanders your name or acts in a way that would paint you as undesirable for future job opportunities. The company may have made false statements about you with the knowledge they were false, showed that statement to another person, and caused harm because of the statement.
We know there are numerous types of wrongful terminations, but they all have specific rules within them. An attorney at the California Employment Attorneys Group can help you learn more.
Statute of Limitations
When it comes to wrongful terminations, there are many statutes of limitations that dictate how long after a termination you can file a lawsuit. Not every type of termination is the same, and each one has different time limits. The California Statute of limitations for unlawful firing cases varies from case to case. They are as follows:
- Violation of Public Policy – 2 years.
- Discrimination – If choosing to pursue a lawsuit through federal law and means, you have up to 300 days to file your claim. If, however, you choose to pursue a lawsuit through state law, you have up to 1 year to file your claim.
- Breach of contract – 2 years.
- Fraud – 3 years.
- Defamation – 1 year.
Statutes of limitations exist because lawsuits may take many months to complete, and it is in everyone’s best interests if the cases are speedily dealt with and resolved. Waiting to file a lawsuit can often cause evidence to get lost, witnesses to misremember their testimonies, and have no bearing on the current quality of life of the plaintiff.
In essence, the sooner you file your wrongful termination claim, the better off you are. Our attorneys will make sure that you miss no deadlines, and we will have all of the evidence ready to go. Our lawyers are reliable and punctual, and your case is our highest priority.
Compensation for your Damages
A wrongful termination lawsuit can bring you various types of compensation. You may be able to be reimbursed for lost wages throughout the case, and in some types of claims, you can even file for pain and suffering and punitive damages. In some instances, you will only be able to file for worker’s compensation – in which case, you will not be able to receive noneconomic damages or punitive damages.
Our Law Firm
Our team of expert attorneys at the California Employment Attorneys Group is here to make sure you receive a fair settlement out of your wrongful termination lawsuit. You deserve to be adequately compensated if your employer illegal fires you or discriminates against you in any way. Our aggressive attorneys will not stop until we bring you restitution you are proud of. We are willing to take your case all the way to court if necessary.
Call us today for a free legal consultation with an accomplished attorney. You can receive more information about the legal process and what you are expected to provide as evidence. All consultations are completely confidential.
Further, do not feel as though you are too far for our lawyers. We practice all around California and we have practices in Los Angeles, Fresno, Bakersfield, Modesto, Stockton, Tulare County, Visalia, Riverside, Corona, Riverside, San Bernardino, Pomona, Fontana, Orange County, Santa Ana, Anaheim, Irvine, and San Diego.
Reach out to the California Employment Attorneys Group today for assistance in filing your wrongful termination lawsuit.