At-will employment allows employers to terminate their workers at any time for any reason, provided that reason is not against the law. On the opposite side, workers can leave their positions at any time for any reason. If there are any contracts in place that prevent either side from leaving, though, there must be some discussion and arbitration to allow the party to break the contract and leave. In many cases, employers will hide the reasons for termination because they know they are acting illegally. If you were fired and you are uncertain why, you should look deeper to uncover if the reasons were against the law or not. Our team of Garden Grove wrongful termination lawyers can look over your case and determine if your employer targeted you and if you have cause for a lawsuit. Contact our law firm, the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group, for more assistance.
Types of Wrongful Termination
Employees are protected in the workplace by a number of laws. For example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents employees from being discriminated against or fired for their nation of origin, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, and more. Employees over the age of 40 are protected by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and disabled employees are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Mothers and pregnant women cannot be targeted thanks to the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
In all, employees have a number of statutes that prevent their employers from taking action against them for those traits. It is entirely unfair for a person to be fired because of his religion. Employers may go further, though, and try to fire someone because she is pregnant and will be unable to complete her job – thus denying her the right to maternity leave.
Some forms of wrongful termination include:
- Disability: If you were fired without being given any reasonable accommodations or because you have a handicap, you could potentially sue. As long as your disability does not outright prevent you from completing your job duties and it does not place a hardship on your employer, your coworkers, or any customers, you are protected.
- Pregnancy: In anticipation of the extended leave a mother may take, some employers may fire her rather than be short a worker. They may also deny days off and any accommodations to lessen the stress on her body.
- Discrimination: The most common forms of discrimination are sex, race, and religion. You may be targeted and terminated for practicing a different religion and for requesting days off to observe holidays or to set aside time and space to pray. You could be paid less and denied the same benefits that everyone else receives. You could be among the first to be fired if a company wants to downsize, despite your positive performance reviews. Unfortunately, discrimination is usually very well-hidden, and it can be difficult to prove that you were victimized by it.
- Retaliation: There is the chance that you were fired because you filed a complaint about something that happened at work. You may have been getting sexually harassed at work or you were suffering disparate pay, but your claim with HR may have been ignored. It was dealt with by suffering a termination, though, as punishment for bringing up a complaint.
- Whistle blowing: Similar to retaliation, but whistle blowing is the act of alerting authorities or other outlets to wrongdoing by the company. Whistle blowers are protected, but often do suffer terminations by their employers.
- Violation of public policy: You cannot be fired for fulfilling your public duties, such as voting in an election or serving time on a jury. You can provide your employer with proof of these activities. If you’re terminated because of them, there is a strong case for wrongful firing.
If you are unsure if you have been wrongfully terminated, call our law firm. Our wrongful termination lawyers in Garden Grove will be able to determine if there is just cause for your claim.
Evidence of a Wrongful Termination
If you were wrongfully terminated by your boss, you should have some kind of evidence to back up your claim. You could even have started to collect this evidence prior to the date of the termination. The most common forms of evidence include:
- Emails and messages from all involved parties, including your boss and Human Resources
- Photos, videos, or recordings of any discrimination or plans to fire you based on an unlawful reason
- Testimonies from your coworkers that give credence to your statements
- Evidence from your employee handbook
- Any contract that was potentially violated
- Previous or similar occurrences with other individuals who were terminated
If you have enough evidence, it will be much easier to file a claim for wrongful termination. Unfortunately, many cases turn into a form of one person’s word against another’s. If you have enough proof, though, you may be able to proceed with a solid claim. Our Garden Grove wrongful termination attorneys will be happy to help.
Restitution from a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
Individuals who take legal action against their employers for wrongful termination can receive restitution for their damages. They can be compensated for the losses they suffered during and after the termination. Many wrongful termination cases settle for fair amounts of money; the average is around $40,000, but it can be altered depending on how much money you earn and what you could have potentially made that year, as well as how discriminatory your boss was. You may be able to get the following forms of coverage:
- Lost wages from the past and future
- Lost benefits, such as health insurance, life insurance, and stocks
- Reimbursement of commission, bonuses, vacation pay, and unpaid paychecks
- Pain and suffering damages, such as PTSD, anxiety, fear, emotional scarring, and more
- Punitive damages, which are handed out in times of gross negligence or when the employer purposely targets and discriminates against you prior to terminating you; however, these damages are difficult to win due to their reputation as being excessive or unnecessary, so you should count on a qualified and experienced employment attorney to win them if they are available
Although your rightful restitution is our primary goal, we also want to bring about a better and lasting change at your place of employment. We can strive to make sure that your employer has rules and regulations in place to protect employees from wrongful termination and that there are repercussions if a manager acts that way again. We do not simply want to win cases – we want to change the work environment for the better.
Call our Garden Grove wrongful termination lawyers for more assistance.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Termination Claims
The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against the responsible party. If you do not file a claim within this deadline, you will not be able to receive any compensation and will be prevented from pursuing legal action in the future. It is important, therefore, that you act quickly so you have the utmost evidence available and witnesses have clear memories when providing support to your claim.
In California, you can file a wrongful termination lawsuit after filing a charge with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). You have 300 days to file this charge, and the department will investigate your claim. Once they have approved of it and given you a right to sue letter, you can then take legal action against your employer for up to 1 year after the date of the letter.
This is the case because the DFEH is a state-run department. If there were no DFEH, you would have 180 days to file a charge under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and 90 days thereafter to sue your employer.
It is important to reach out to an attorney to accurately determine how much time you have to sue. If you plan on filing a claim against a government agency, your statute may be reduced. If you were underage at the time of the termination or if the defendant fled the state for some time, your statute could be extended. Contact our wrongful termination lawyers in Garden Grove to figure out the deadline for your lawsuit.
Why Choose Us
The California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group can provide you with an experienced team of employment attorneys who will be able to secure you the compensation you deserve. We know that many attorneys will simply sweep your claim under the rug and try to earn a fast settlement for you so they do not have to put in the work. We will give you a free second opinion on your case if you are already represented, and we will be glad to look over everything for you if you feel that you have a solid claim already. We are aggressive and do not stop pursuing your rightful restitution until we are satisfied, and our track record speaks for itself.
Reach out to our offices today for a free legal consultation with one of our lawyers. We’ll answer any questions you have and walk you through the legal process. We will also tell you more about our zero fee guarantee, which promises that you won’t touch your own personal savings throughout the case. We will only get paid if we win, and the money will come out of the settlement we bring you. If we lose, we earn nothing whatsoever.
Don’t hesitate to contact the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group if you are in need of any Garden Grove wrongful termination lawyers.