Most employees in California are at will employees, which mean that they can be fired pretty much at any time for pretty much any legitimate business reason. However, the employer cannot discriminate against the employee and fire them based on certain legally protected aspects of the person’s life. These include race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability and others. If the employee is discriminated against because of one of these things, then they may have a claim for wrongful determination.

Most wrongful termination claims must start with first filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After the employee files a charge with the EEOC, within 10 days of receiving it, the EEOC will send notice to the employer. The EEOC will then see if the employer and employee would like to participate in mediation. This is optional though and the parties do not need to reach an agreement even if they go through mediation.

If the mediation does not happen or is not successful, then the EEOC will conduct an investigation and ask the employer to answer the charge. During the investigation the employee can give the EEOC more information or amend their charge after reviewing the employer’s answer to the charge. After the investigation, the EEOC will determine if the law has been broken or not.

At this time the EEOC will give the employee a Notice of the Right to Sue or they will submit it to the legal team to determine whether the Department of Justice will bring a claim on the employee’s behalf. Even if they decline to bring a claim in court on the employee’s behalf, the employee can still file a claim in court on their own.

Many employees in California may be terminated from their employment based on discrimination by the employer. If this occurs the employee can file a charge with the EEOC who will investigate the charge and determine whether they believe the law was broken. After this is complete, it gets much more complicated for the employee who may need to file a lawsuit in court to receive the compensation they deserve. Experienced attorneys may be a useful resource at this time.

Source: www.eeoc.com, “What you can expect after you file a charge” accessed on Nov. 8, 2017