How to Prove Wrongful Termination in 3 Easy Steps
Losing your job is difficult under the best of circumstances. If you suspect your employer is guilty of wrongful termination, however, it can be even harder to accept the loss of job – and you should not have to. Wrongful termination is against the law. California employment laws protect employees from discharge due to discrimination or retaliation. Take the following steps to prove your wrongful termination case in Los Angeles and obtain financial compensation for your employer’s wrongdoing.
Understand California’s At-Will Employment Laws
First, consider whether your employer had a valid reason for firing you – or no particular reason at all. California is an at-will employment state. Employers retain the right to fire employees at any time, for almost any reason, with or without giving notice. Likewise, employees have the right to quit their jobs without giving notice or a valid reason. The only exception is if the employer has a contract or handbook that states otherwise. Unless your employer fired you for an illegal reason, you generally will not have a wrongful termination claim in California.
Identify the Illegal Nature of the Discharge
The main ground for filing a wrongful termination claim is that your employer decided to terminate your relationship with the company for unlawful reasons. In California, it is against the law to fire someone on the basis of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) protects employees against discrimination by enforcing federal laws. It is illegal in the United States to base a hiring or firing decision on an individual’s protected class. This includes sex, race, religion, color, national origin, age, and disability.
- Federal law also bans job termination based on harassment in the workplace. Harassment is any action that creates a hostile work environment for the employee. It can include sexual harassment. If harassment forced you to quit your job, you may have grounds for a wrongful job termination claim.
- Punishing an employee for coming forward with a discrimination claim, or for blowing the whistle on rule violations within the organization, is against the law. If you lost your job after reporting your employer to the EEOC, OSHA, or another organization, you could be the victim of wrongful termination.
It is also illegal to fire an employment if it constitutes a breach of contract. If an employment agreement – express or implied – establishes permissible reasons for termination, and your boss violated these terms in firing you, you could have a case. Breach of contract claims can exist whether you had a written or verbal contract with your employer. Establishing the grounds for your termination can help you prove your claim.
Hire an Attorney
Once you have identified the illegal grounds for your job termination, it will be up to you (or your attorney) to gather evidence that supports your claim. Evidence may include descriptions of how people treated you at work, statements from eyewitnesses, testimony from subject-matter experts, or copies of EEOC complaints. Hiring a lawyer can make it easier to build your claim. Your attorney can help you gather evidence from your workplace and start putting together a case against your employer.
A lawyer can also take care of the claim-filing process on your behalf. In California, you typically have two years from the date you lost your job to bring a wrongful termination lawsuit. Missing this deadline could mean giving up your right to any financial recovery. Your attorney can speed up the filing process and prevent you from making time-consuming mistakes. Your attorney will fill out confusing paperwork, expedite the process as much as possible, and help you fight for the back pay and/or job reinstatement you deserve. A lawyer can help you file an action against an unjust employer in LA.