How to File a Claim for Wrongful Termination in California

Have you been wrongfully terminated? You might have a claim and don’t know it. Therefore, it’s helpful to familiarize yourself with wrongful termination laws to see if you have a case in California employee.

Understanding Your Rights as a California Employee

If you’re a California employee, you should review the state’s wrongful termination laws. These laws are featured under the state’s labor codes. For example, California Labor Code 1194 allows workers who receive less than the legal minimum wage or overtime to sue their employer for back pay, including interest, court costs, and attorney fees.

If you have a question about pay, benefits, or rights about taking time off, you should contact a wrongful termination lawyer and schedule a consultation.

Gather the Evidence

If you’re a victim of discrimination or you feel you were not paid fairly, you need to gather evidence to support your claim. Evidence can take the form of text messages, performance reviews, texts, or other documents that show the unfair nature of a dismissal. Having solid evidence will significantly strengthen your case when you proceed with legal action.

File a Complaint with the Appropriate Agency

In many cases, before pursuing a wrongful termination lawsuit, you’ll need to file a complaint with either the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). It’s essential to choose the correct agency based on your specific circumstances since filing with the wrong one could jeopardize your claim.

Speak with an Experienced Employment Attorney

Employment law is both complex and challenging. Therefore, you need to have professional guidance. Doing so will increase your chances of success in filing a wrongful termination claim. An attorney can provide invaluable advice, assistance with paperwork and deadlines, and representation during negotiations or court proceedings.

Know the Timelines and Deadlines

Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a wrongful termination claim in California. In most cases, you have six months after the date of termination to file a DFEH complaint or 180 days for EEOC filings. Once you receive a Right to Sue letter from either agency, you’ll typically have one year to file a lawsuit.

Prepare for the Legal Process

Filing a wrongful termination claim in California involves a series of steps, such as investigation, negotiation, mediation, and potentially, litigation. Familiarizing yourself with this process and being well-prepared for each stage will help you know what to expect.

Stay Focused

Finally, pursuing a wrongful termination claim can be a lengthy and emotionally draining activity. Therefore, it’s essential to stay focused and determined during this time. Remember that seeking justice for an unjust dismissal is your right as an employee, and it’s critical not to let any difficulties deter you from your ultimate goal.

What Are Examples of Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful termination can happen if a California worker is discriminated against by their employer or their employer retaliates. Dismissals are also considered unfair if an employer breaches an employment agreement, fires an employee for taking leave, or they violate public policy.

The examples below will help you recognize wrongful termination if it happens to you or someone you know.

1. Discrimination

One common example of wrongful termination is when an employee is fired due to discrimination. This could be based on race, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or other protected characteristics. It’s illegal for employers to discriminate against employees due to these factors.

2. Retaliation

Another instance of wrongful termination occurs when an employee is fired in retaliation for participating in a protected activity. Protected workplace activities include reporting workplace harassment, filing a workers’ compensation claim, or participating in a workplace investigation.

3. Breach of Contract

If an employee has an employment contract that specifies the terms of their employment and termination rules, then firing the employee without adhering to those terms is considered wrongful termination.

4. Firing for Taking Leave

Employees are entitled to take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). So,it’s unlawful for employers to fire them solely for taking this leave. Similarly, employers cannot fire an employee for exercising their right to take time off to vote or to fulfill their obligations to serve in the military.

5. Whistleblowing

Employees who report the illegal activities of their employer – known as whistleblowers – are protected from being fired for the activity.

6. Violation of Public Policy

Terminating an employee for reasons that go against established public policy is another example of wrongful termination. For instance, firing someone because they reported safety violations or refused to engage in illegal activities can serve as grounds for a wrongful termination claim.

7. Constructive Discharge

In some cases, hostile or intolerable working conditions can force an employee to resign – this scenario is referred to as constructive discharge or constructive dismissal. If an employer intentionally creates such conditions to make an employee resign, it is considered a form of wrongful termination.

Knowledge is Power: Contact an Attorney

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, it’s crucial to consult with an employment attorney who can help assess your situation and determine the best course of action. 

Remember, knowledge is power, and understanding the examples of wrongful termination can help you protect your rights in the workplace.

California employee
Contact the Belal Law Firm If You’ve Been Wrongfully Fired

Are you a California employee who has been wrongfully terminated? If so, you need to speak to a wrongful termination lawyer. In California, schedule an appointment with the Belal Law Firm about your case right away.