It is never fun, but unfortunately many people are fired in California each year. There are many situations where people get fired and know exactly why they are getting fired.
However, in many other situations, people are blindsided by getting fired and do not agree with the reasons they are given. While it may not seem right or may not seem fair, simply because a person does not agree with the reasons does not automatically mean that they were wrongfully terminated.
People only have wrongful termination claims if they were actually fired for very specific reasons. These include being fired for discriminatory reasons such as their race, gender, gender identification, religion, age, disability, national origin and other discriminatory reasons. They may also have a wrongful termination claim if they were fired in retaliation for reporting illegal activity or for participating in an investigation into the company.
These types of cases are not always easy to prove though. Usually, companies will mask their true reasons for firing an employee. They may start to give an employee poor reviews or start enforcing company policies more strictly to give a legitimate basis for firing the employee.
While an employee may want time to investigate to determine what really happened, they do not have a long time before they need to file a claim with the EEOC. Generally, people have 180 days to file from the date of the termination to file the claim. However, that can be extended to 300 days if the state enforces laws to the same effect as the federal laws.
It is important to know that the time starts when the person is fired. So, if the employee is trying to negotiate with the employer before filing, the time spent negotiating does not extend the time limits.
Many people in California are fired for illegal reasons. If this occurs, the employee may be entitled to compensation for the damages caused by the firing, but they must file claims in time. These are very fact-specific cases, though, and consulting with an experienced attorney could be beneficial.