Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Attorney
Were you fired from your job for illegal reasons? It may be hard to know without an understanding of the law. That’s where our Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers come in. We know the specifics of the law and can help you fight illegal business practices. Our attorneys can provide:
- A free consultation to discuss your claim.
- The insight necessary to gather evidence for your case.
- Compassionate and effective representation in wrongful termination matters.
The California employee lawyers at Mathew & George protect the rights of workers in Los Angeles. Our wrongful termination attorneys only maintain a few cases at any given time so we can properly focus our efforts to every client’s case. Contact us for more information about California employment laws or to arrange an initial consultation about your situation.
Wrongful Termination Resources
- Getting Your Job Back
- What is “At-Will” Employment?
- When is Firing Illegal?
- Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations
Why Do I Need an Employment Attorney?
California law does not require you to hire an attorney to represent you during an employment law violation case. However, handling your case alone could put you at risk of settling for less than it is worth—or failing to obtain a settlement at all. Only a Los Angeles employment lawyer will have the experience and education to get the best possible results for your case. You can focus on your family and your future while an attorney handles the legwork of your lawsuit.
Retaining a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney can maximize your odds of success. A lawyer can go up against your employer and hold it accountable for wrongdoing. You will not have to fear an insurance corporation or major company taking advantage of you during the claims process. Your attorney will protect your legal rights and best interest every step of the way.
What Compensation Could I Receive?
The value of your wrongful termination case will depend on your unique losses. No two claims are the same. Your potential case results will vary according to how much the termination cost you in terms of lost pay, court fees, and emotional distress. The best way to get an accurate idea of what compensation you could receive is through a consultation with an attorney. An attorney can review the facts of your specific case and calculate a fair damage award. Then, your lawyer can issue a demand letter listing the compensation you wish to obtain.
- Payment for lost past and future earnings
- Front pay for the time between your judgment and when you returned to work
- Compensation for missed bonuses and benefits
- Reimbursement for missed job opportunities, such as promotions or overtime pay
- Reinstatement of your job position
- The costs of searching or training for a new job
- Expenses for having to seek therapy or medical care
- Additional punitive damages to punish your employer for labor law violations
In Los Angeles, a typical wrongful termination settlement amount will range from $5,000 to $40,000, with an average of around $35,000. It is less common to receive larger awards, such as $100,000 or more, but this does happen. Hiring a lawyer is the best way to maximize your compensation amount. A lawyer will have the negotiation skills to fight for a fair settlement or verdict on your behalf. Cases with the most damages to the victim will typically garner the highest amounts.
Could I Get My Job Back?
It is possible to get your job back after being wrongfully terminated in Los Angeles. If you successfully settle your claim or a courtroom rules in your favor, part of your compensation award could be mandatory job reinstatement. Your employer may have no choice but to give you your job back, plus potential perks such as a raise or promotion you rightfully should have received prior to the lawsuit. However, getting your job back is not a guarantee.
Some employers choose not to offer job reinstatement as part of a wrongful termination settlement. They may offer front pay or another type of compensation award instead of giving the employee his or her job back. It is common for both the employer and employee to prefer a different arrangement rather than going back to the same circumstances. As an employee, it may be uncomfortable to return to the place you just filed a lawsuit against for damages. You may want a fresh start somewhere new instead, and be willing to accept a settlement offer that does not include job reinstatement.
What Is “At-Will” Employment in California?
Wrongful termination laws exist to protect employees from termination without just cause. However, it is important to understand how “at-will” employment works.
California and many other states adhere to “at-will” employment law. This means that employment relationships exist solely at the will of the employer and the employee. If there is no set contract, either party can terminate the employment at any time. There does not need to be a reason for either party to terminate employment. While this provides both employers and employees with flexibility, it can create a gray area after someone is fired.
What is Wrongful Termination?
Under the definition of “at-will” employment, it may seem that an employer has total freedom to fire you. This is untrue and there are a few exceptions, including:
- Discrimination: Any firing that occurs because of an employee’s protected status is illegal. Race, sex, gender, age, disability, medical condition, religion, and sexual orientation are all protected statuses.
- Whistleblowing: Refusing to engage in illegal activity or reporting illegal behavior are not legal grounds for termination.
- Retaliation: You cannot be fired as a form of retaliation for exercising a right. This includes retaliation for filing a workers compensation claim, using leave, or taking breaks. This also includes a retaliatory firing for complaining about equal pay.
- Breach of contract: Contracts, whether implied or formal, can protect an employee from wrongful termination. The employer is liable for breach of contract if the employee did not reasonably warrant termination as outlined by the contract.
If an employer fires you for one of the above reasons, it is illegal, and they are unlikely to be honest about it. Therefore, it is important to collect as much evidence as possible to support your claim. Evidence can include anything from emails or text messages to behavior that a coworker witnessed. Collecting the right evidence is crucial to the success of your claim.
Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is the time period you must file a claim from the date of firing. Wrongful termination cases are complex because this time limit varies by:
- The type of wrongful termination claim
- The jurisdiction and agency you file with
Filing with the DFEH
Most wrongful termination claims in Los Angeles are a violation of the FEHA. As a California state law, FEHA claims are filed with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. These types of claims have a statute of limitations of one year from the date of termination. After filing a complaint intake form, a representative will determine whether or not to conduct an investigation. If you do not want to use the DFEH investigation process and skip to filing a lawsuit, you must first obtain a Right to Sue notice. We only advise this if you already have retained a wrongful termination attorney.
Filing with the EEOC
A wrongful termination case can also be filed under Federal Law, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act for discrimination. For these types of claims, an employee generally has 180 days to file a complaint with the EEOC. However, due to local rules in California, this time limit is extended to 300 days. Similar to filing with the DFEH, a charge is filed and investigated before issuing a Right to Sue notice.
Other California Time Limits Include
- Violation of an implied contact or public policy – two years
- Whistleblower claims – three years
- WARN Act – three years
- Breach of written contract – four years
Wrongful Termination Damages and Settlements
Wrongful termination can cause financial and emotional losses for you and your family. You may suffer significant losses in income, along with stress and anguish due to your sudden change in financial status. A successful lawsuit may be the only way to obtain the compensation you need to move forward. A firing seriously impacts your life and well-being. Therefore, employees in these cases seek damages for:
- Lost wages
- Lost benefits
- Emotional distress or depression
- Punitive damages
- Attorney’s fees
Like most lawsuits, these cases often end up in settlements. The stigma of association with a wrongful termination claim can sometimes cause an employer to settle. Not only is the process faster, but it is more confidential. While its true that most claims settle outside of court, your employer may choose to go to trial. If so, you need a skilled wrongful termination lawyer.
In some cases, employers will offer a severance package after a wrongful termination. Sometimes this is an attempt to buy cooperation so the employee keeps silent about an unfair practice. If you think you were fired for an illegal reason, contact an attorney before accepting any severance package or signing any documents. What may seem like a nice payout now could prevent you from getting what you deserve down the road. Do not forfeit your rights before deciding to pursue legal action against your employer.
Contact Our Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Attorneys
At Mathew & George, our dedicated wrongful termination lawyers are well versed in the law and have helped many clients. We are willing to do what it takes to get the justice you deserve. Our law firm offers complimentary case evaluations and have no problem going to trial if necessary. Call us today to see how we can help you. Be sure to adhere to the statute of limitations so you do not lose the right to file a claim.
“He fully understands all the litigation tools at his disposal to address the issues in a case that are in the best interest of the client.” – M.A.