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How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Termination Suit in California?

In California, most employment relationships are "at-will," meaning that employers can fire a worker at any time and for any reason. However, there are various exceptions to the general rule of at-will employment. If you believe your employer didn't have legal grounds to fire you, you might be wondering how long you have to file a wrongful termination suit. Our Los Angeles employment law attorneys explain everything you need to know about filing a timely wrongful termination case.

What Is Considered Wrongful Termination?

To file a wrongful termination case, California law requires that your employer's reason for termination violate public policy. Below we have put together a list of wrongful termination examples:

  • You terminated for participating in a protected activity, such as for reporting an illegal action or refusing to participate in unlawful activities.
  • You were terminated for discriminatory reasons, such as discrimination based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identification, religion, or age.
  • You were terminated for reporting or complaining of wage and hour violations or sexual harassment.

How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Termination Case?

In California, you need to file a wrongful termination case within the "statute of limitations." However, the statute of limitations varies for wrongful termination cases since it will depend on the type of claim you are file. Below we explain how long you have to file a claim depending on your situation:

  • Breach of Contract: If there was an oral or written contract that was breached, you have two years to file a claim.
  • Public Policy: If your employer fired you for exercising your legal rights, you have two years to file a claim.
  • Whistleblower Case: You have one year to file a whistleblower claim with the state of California – different time limitations apply for employees bringing claims in their private capacity, up to three years.
  • Discrimination: Fair Employment and Housing Act complaints can be filed in three years, and lawsuits must be filed within one year of the DFEH issuing a “Right to Sue” Notice.
  • Mass Layoff without Notice (WARN Act): You have three years to file a wrongful termination claim based on mass layoffs without notice.

Since California is an "at-will" state, wrongful termination cases can quickly become very complicated. Contact our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorneys today at (213) 292-5444 to schedule a case review!

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