Losing your job is a difficult experience, but it can be even more challenging if you believe you were wrongfully terminated. Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for an illegal reason, such as discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract. In California, employees have legal protections against wrongful termination, but the laws surrounding this issue can be complex.
If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, it is important to understand your legal options. At Bridgford Law, our experienced California wrongful termination attorneys can help you navigate the legal process and seek justice for your situation. Contact us today for your free consultation at (833) 758-0785.
What is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination is the act of firing an employee for illegal or improper reasons, such as discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract. Wrongful termination can occur in any industry, and it can have serious consequences for the affected employee, including loss of income, difficulty finding new employment, and damage to their reputation.
In California, there are a number of legal protections in place to prevent wrongful termination. California is an “at-will” employment state, which means that an employer can terminate an employee at any time for any reason, as long as it is not an illegal reason. For example, an employer cannot fire an employee based on race, gender, age, religion, or disability.
In addition to protections against discrimination, California law also prohibits retaliation against employees who engage in certain protected activities, such as reporting workplace safety violations, taking medical leave, or whistleblowing. Retaliation can include termination, demotion, or other adverse actions taken against an employee. Consult with a California employment lawyer if you believe you have been wrongfully terminated under the pre-described conditions.
Examples of California Wrongful Termination
There are several examples of wrongful termination in California, including:
- Discrimination: It is illegal to terminate an employee based on protected characteristics, such as race, gender, age, religion, or disability.
- Retaliation: An employer cannot retaliate against an employee for engaging in protected activities, such as reporting workplace safety violations, taking medical leave, or whistleblowing.
- Breach of contract: If an employee has a valid employment contract, the employer cannot terminate them in violation of that contract.
- Violation of public policy: If an employer fires an employee for reasons that violate public policy, such as refusing to engage in illegal activities or reporting illegal activities to law enforcement, it can be considered wrongful termination.
- Constructive termination: This occurs when an employer makes working conditions so intolerable that the employee has no choice but to quit, such as harassing or discriminating against an employee.
The Role of the California Labor Commissioner’s Office
In California, filing a claim with the California Labor Commissioner’s Office is not always required to pursue a wrongful termination claim. However, it is often recommended as it is a cost-effective and efficient way to resolve disputes related to wrongful termination.
Filing a claim with the Labor Commissioner’s Office is generally the first step in a wrongful termination claim in California. After the Labor Commissioner’s hearing, the employee may have the option to file a lawsuit in court if they disagree with the Labor Commissioner’s decision or if they prefer to pursue their claim through the court system.
It is important to note that if you do choose to file a lawsuit in court, you must first obtain a “right to sue” letter from the Labor Commissioner’s Office. This letter confirms that you have exhausted all administrative remedies with the Labor Commissioner and are now authorized to file a lawsuit in court.
Statute of Limitations for California Wrongful Termination
The statute of limitations for wrongful termination cases in California varies depending on the type of claim being made. Generally, employees have a limited amount of time to file a claim after the alleged wrongful termination occurred. The following are some common statutes of limitations for wrongful termination cases in California:
- Discrimination: Employees have one year from the date of the discriminatory act to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and three years to file a lawsuit.
- Retaliation: Employees have three years from the date of the retaliatory act to file a lawsuit.
- Breach of Contract: Employees have four years from the date of the breach to file a lawsuit.
- Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy: Employees have two years from the date of the termination to file a lawsuit.
Contact Our California Wrongful Termination Lawyer Today
Contacting an experienced California wrongful termination lawyer can help you understand your legal options, determine whether you have a viable claim, and pursue the compensation you deserve. If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated from your job in California, it is important to act quickly to protect your legal rights.
At Bridgford Law, our California wrongful termination lawyers have a proven track record of success representing clients in wrongful termination claims, and we are committed to fighting for your rights. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward resolving your wrongful termination claim.