All workers in the workforce should be aware of their rights on both Federal and State levels. They should know what they can legally be terminated for and what they cannot be fired for. If a worker is wrongfully terminated, he may be able to take legal action. One of the problems with wrongful termination, though, is the difficulty in recognizing it. You may not even be aware that you were discriminated against until you reevaluate the situation or a coworker contacts you and lets you know the real reasons behind the actions. Fortunately, there are legal options if you were wrongfully fired. Our team of Yorba Linda wrongful termination attorneys at the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group can file your claim against the business and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your losses.
Wrongful Termination Information
Wrongful termination occurs when an individual is fired for an illegal reason. In California, employment is at-will, meaning workers can be fired for any reason at any point in time, provided the reason is legal. Further, workers can leave their jobs at any point in time. The employer cannot fire a worker for being a certain way or taking certain actions, as he would be protected under the law.
The laws that protect workers are:
- The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all of its applicable amendments; it protects classes on race, religion, pregnancy, and more
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act that protects individuals over the age of 40 years old
- The Americans with Disabilities Act that ensures disabled individuals are not refused jobs or reasonable accommodations
Therefore, if you are wrongfully terminated for these reasons, you can take legal action. Examples of such termination include the following:
- Retaliation: You may be retaliated against if you act in a way that the company does not like, despite being in the right. For instance, if you were harassed by a coworker and you went to HR to file a complaint, the company could dislike that you stirred up trouble, as they see it. It is not uncommon to request a raise, take days off when you are owed them, or file complaints only to get retaliated against afterward.
- Discrimination: Discrimination can take many forms. There is racial discrimination in which you can be targeted for the color of your skin or the racial ethnicity you are; sex discrimination in which you are targeted for your gender or for being pregnant; religious discrimination in which you are targeted for practicing your religion or worshiping during work hours; age discrimination in which you are given fewer tasks or let go because you are too old for the job; and much more.
- Breach of contract: You may have signed a contract with your company that outlines your employment duration or what you can be terminated for. If your company fires you in breach of this contract, it is illegal. You should make sure to review any contract you sign and ensure that there is no hidden language or clauses you do not understand or agree with so you can be protected in the event of a dispute.
- Breach of public policy: According to the law, worker can take time off work to go fulfill their civil duties, such as voting or serving on a jury. The employer does not have the right to fire them if they can show that they were obeying these duties.
- Leave violation: You are entitled to leave according to your job, such as medical leave or maternity leave. If your employer decides to fire you because you decided to take leave, you can take action. It is illegal to be fired if you were sick and took leave or if you were taking any of the other absences that are owed to you.
- Whistleblowing: If you expose the company for taking certain actions, such as discriminating against other individuals, you are protected from being retaliated against. Whistleblowing is essentially alerting the authorities to activities going on at the company that are illegal or harmful.
You may not believe something is wrongful termination or you may not know that any illegal activity has taken place. It is important that you evaluate the circumstances of the termination and determine if you were actually victimized.
Procedure To File A Lawsuit
If you wish to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination, you must have ample evidence to do so. Your evidence can actually be collected well before you are terminated. Many individuals who see discrimination and harassment at the workplace decide to collect information and proof while they are still employed in the event they are suddenly let go.
This evidence can take the form of many things. You may want to start a journal to write down any occurrences that could be discriminatory or to recall actions that could be used against you as proof that you deserve to be fired. You may also want to get proof that other people were fired for similar reasons to yours. If there is a long history of individuals being discriminated against or retaliated against before getting fired, you could have solid proof for your claim.
Your fellow coworkers can provide crucial statements regarding the termination and past firings. However, they may be unwilling to do so. Many coworkers are reluctant because of the risk; they may lose their jobs themselves if the employer learns that they provided information that can be used against the company. It is best if you have an airtight claim and your coworkers are not worried about potentially losing their jobs. You may also choose to get statements from previous coworkers or individuals who were also fired.
If you can get video and recorded proof of the discrimination or the choice to fire you for an illegal reason your case will be in great shape. This is exceptionally rare, though, and you may have to settle for a lot of referential evidence.
You should always go to HR to file a complaint as soon as you learn of any discrimination or if you are mistreated. They may say that there is nothing they can do, at which point you should make copies of any messages or emails. You can also make copies of texts and emails you exchanged with your boss. There should be an internal record of what happened that you can refer to.
Any outside documents should be held onto, as well. Items like contracts, statements from a judge, doctor’s notes, and more can be used to bolster your claim if you were fired while on some kind of leave.
After you have gathered all of your evidence, you should hire a skilled lawyer with experience in wrongful termination claims to handle your case.
Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations
The deadline to file a wrongful termination claim is 180 days from the date of the incident, unless there is a state department to handle the violation – in which case, the deadline is 300 days from the date of the incident. This is important to understand, as it can directly impact the chances of your success. If you miss the deadline, you will not be able to sue in the future. You will submit the proof to the agency and they will conduct an investigation; if they determine that you have enough evidence and the claim is valid, you will have 1 year to sue. They will send you a right to sue letter that you can abide by.
In some cases, the statute of limitations can be lengthened or shorted. It may be lengthened when the defendant leaves or vacates the state; it will resume when he returns to the state. It may also be shortened if you are filing a claim against a government entity; these claims must be filed within 45 days.
Our lawyers will file your document on time and make sure that you miss out on no deadlines.
Restitution from a Wrongful Termination
Individuals who were fired illegally can receive ample restitution for their losses. Our lawyers will work to bring you the maximum settlement available under the law. We will win the following for you:
- Lost income from the time you went unemployed, such as bonuses wages, and benefits
- Pain and suffering for emotional trauma and psychological damages
- Reinstatement into your old position if you so choose
- Punitive damages if they are available in times of gross negligence from the company
The Right Firm for You
Our team of attorneys at the California Labor Law Employment Attorneys Group is a highly skilled group with years of experience handling wrongful termination claims. We have recovered millions of dollars for our clients and have ensured that businesses change their practices and do not practice any discrimination. We have been at the forefront of employment law for years, and our aggressive lawyers know the best tactics to winning your claim.
Reach out today for a free legal consultation about your case. All consultations are completely confidential and no private details will be shared with anyone. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have any specific questions, we welcome you to ask them. We will also tell you about our zero fee guarantee, which helps you pay nothing throughout the case. We will get paid only if we win, and the money will come from the settlement won from the insurance agency. If we lose, we do not get paid, and you can walk away debt-free to our firm.