California Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations & Laws 2024

California Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations & Laws 2024
Feb 25, 2024

Getting fired is always overwhelming. The sudden stress of being unemployed, the urgency to find a new job, and the financial strain you may have to endure all add up to a period of anxiety you were unprepared for. However, it might not have been your fault that you lost your job. If you let go because of a personal vendetta your employer had against your age, race, religion, or sexual orientation, you may be the victim of wrongful termination. Contact a California wrongful termination lawyer today.

What Is Wrongful Termination?

California is an at-will state, which means that employers can terminate their employees without cause. However, that does not give employers the right to exploit their workers’ vulnerabilities and fire them for outlandish, illegal reasons like discrimination. Wrongful termination occurs when an employee is suddenly fired for an invalid, illegal reason, such as any of the following:

  • Race/Ethnicity/National Origin: Nobody can choose their race or their skin color. However, there are racist, bigoted employers who target employees of certain races and try to make their working lives miserable. Other employers may have policies that are discriminatory unbeknownst to them. If you have lost out on opportunities at work because of your race or skin color, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination or discrimination suit.
  • Age: California state law protects employees over the age of 40, who may be dealing with ageism. Ageism is a dislike or hatred of somebody on the grounds of their age. An employer cannot discriminate or terminate on the grounds of age, if the employee is over 40. Everyone should get the same opportunity regardless of their age.
  • Gender Identity: A person’s chosen gender is their own business, and it is illegal for employers to discriminate against anyone because of their gender. If you feel you have been passed over for a promotion, denied a bonus, or even terminated solely based on your gender, you may have grounds for a claim.
  • Religion: A person’s religious beliefs are their own, regardless of whether or not employers subscribe to those same beliefs or otherwise. The law protects a person’s right to practice the religion of their choosing, and employers’ retaliation against employees who may have different beliefs is grounds for a discrimination suit.
  • Sexual Orientation: State and federal law protects the rights of the LGBTIQA+ community and prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees because of their sexual orientation. A person’s sexual orientation should be a nonissue at work, but if you feel like you have been discriminated against by your employers due to your sexual orientation, you may have grounds for a valid suit.
  • Disability: Under California state law, a disability is considered any medical condition that impairs any major life activity, including your work life. It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because of any disability you may have.
  • Pregnancy: There are times when pregnant employees have been terminated from their jobs for many reasons. Employers might not want to pay to allow them to take maternity leave. They may feel that pregnant employees are not working as hard as others. Some people are prejudiced against working mothers because of their own beliefs. Regardless, it is illegal to discriminate against pregnant employees.

FAQs

Q: How Long Do I Have to Sue a Former Employer in California?

A: In California, you have two years from the actual date of your termination to begin filing a claim for wrongful termination. Other types of claims have shorter time frames in which employees must bring a claim, some as little as six months. It takes time to gather evidence and build a valid case. It might take a while for you to realize you were wrongfully terminated at all. It is important to retain the services of an attorney who can help you determine the correct path to take through all of these stressful times.

Q: What Are the New Employment Laws for 2023 in California?

A: 2023 saw the beginning of some new employment and labor laws in California. As of January 2024, the minimum wage in the state has risen to $16 per hour. The state government has also started phasing out a program that allowed individuals to obtain a one-year license that allowed them to work for less than minimum wage. Starting in January 2024, discriminating against employees or applicants for their use of cannabis outside of work is now illegal.

Q: Is There a Maximum Payout for Wrongful Termination in California?

A: Since each wrongful termination suit is different, there is no way to tell how much the payout can be. Sometimes, it’s a small amount; other times, it’s a considerably large amount. It all depends on the circumstances surrounding the wrongful termination and the employers’ willingness to settle. Some cases have even resulted in multimillion-dollar settlements for the offended parties.

Q: Can I Sue My Employer for Wrongful Termination in California?

A: Yes, you absolutely can sue your employers for wrongful termination in California, but only if you have a valid case against them.

If you believe you were fired for your age, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other protected characteristic, and you have proof that this occurred, you have a potential case. Consult a wrongful termination attorney and discuss your options. You may find out you don’t have enough evidence, or you may find out you have more. The burden of proof falls upon you.

Discover Your Legal Options Today

Facing a wrongful termination case can be challenging, frightening, confusing, painful, and even daunting, but you do not have to face it alone. The attorneys at Hennig Kramer Ruiz & Singh, LLP, are experienced in all types of discrimination and wrongful termination cases. We have helped many people through exactly what you are dealing with.

We understand the frustration you must be feeling, and we are prepared to guide you through this unprecedented situation. Contact us to schedule a consultation. We can help you.

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