Los Angeles Wrongful Termination Lawyer
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. Our wrongful termination lawyers can provide:
- A free consultation to discuss your claim.
- The insight necessary to gather evidence for your wrongful termination case.
- Compassionate and effective representation in wrongful termination matters.
At Mathew & George, our employment lawyers protect the rights of employees in Los Angeles. We 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 wrongful termination laws or to arrange a consultation about your situation.
What Is “At-Will” Employment?
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 firing someone.
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. These exceptions include:
- Discrimination: Any firing that occurs because of an employee’s protected status is illegal. Race, sex, age, disability, 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 a wrongful termination. The employer is liable for breach of contract if the employee did not reasonably warrant termination as outlined by the contract.
It is illegal to fire an employee for one of the motivating factors above. If an employer fires you for one of the above reasons, 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 wrongful termination 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 California 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 lawyer.
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
A firing seriously impacts your life and well-being. Therefore, employees in wrongful termination cases seek damages for:
- Lost wages
- Lost benefits
- Emotional distress or depression
- Punitive damages
- Attorney’s fees
Like most lawsuits, wrongful termination 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 Wrongful Termination Attorneys
Mathew & George have Los Angeles wrongful termination lawyers who are well versed in the law. We are willing to do what it takes to get the justice you deserve. We 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.