Written by: John Dalton
| Read Time: 3 minutes

What is the statute of limitations for wrongful termination in California? If you file your case with the state government or in a state civil court, you typically have three years to initiate your claim. This amount of time can change depending on your circumstances, so speaking to an attorney immediately after a job loss is vital to protecting your rights and options. If you have been the victim of an unlawful firing in California, the Law Offices of John Dalton know how to champion your rights and recover what you deserve. We have decades of experience and an unmatched track record of helping mistreated workers in California. We are ready to help you when you are ready to fight.  

What Is Wrongful Termination?

If you are fired for a reason that is discriminatory, retaliatory, or against public policy, your employer has engaged in wrongful termination, even if you are an at-will employee. Below we will review unlawful termination and the common ways it occurs. 

Discriminatory Firing

Between California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), California employers are forbidden from terminating employees because of any of the following protected characteristics: 

  • Religion, 
  • Age (40 and older),
  • Sex,
  • Gender,
  • National origin,
  • Military status (past or present),
  • Disability,
  • Color,
  • Genetics,
  • Marital status,
  • Medical condition, 
  • Sexual orientation, and
  • Race.

If you believe you have suffered any type of discrimination, please contact us. 

Firings Against Public Policy

Not only does the law demand that employers respect the protected characteristics of their workforce, but it also requires employers to honor their employees’ engagement with certain civic duties and worker rights. If your participation in one of the following activities motivates your employer to fire you, you can likely take legal action: 

  • Reporting for jury duty, 
  • Making an honest claim for workers’ compensation benefits, 
  • Refusing to engage in illegal behavior,
  • Participating in an investigation of discrimination or retaliation, 
  • Requesting family or medical leave, 
  • Reporting for military service, or
  • Disclosing, or threatening to disclose, the unlawful activities of your employer.

If you have questions about your job security before you take any of the actions above, please contact us. We are happy to listen to you. 

Retaliatory Firings

The protected characteristics and activities that we have listed in this article cannot be the reason that an employee gets fired, and they cannot be the reason that an employee is punished or harassed. If you receive unwarranted discipline or mistreatment because of these factors, you have a right to take legal action, and your employer cannot fire you for doing so. If you are fired for asserting your rights, you can sue or file a claim against your employer for unlawful retaliation. If you even think this has happened to you, please call us.

Common Types of Illegal Workplace Treatment

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal government agency that enforces Title VII. The EEOC has reported that the most common workplace mistreatment cases it sees are based on sex, disability, race, and retaliation. If you suspect that your employer is treating you unfairly for an illegal reason, you should give us a call as soon as possible.

How to Recover Legal Remedies

To receive the financial compensation and injunctive relief that you deserve after your employer breaks the law, you can submit an administrative complaint to the EEOC or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (also known as the California Civil Rights Department). You also have the right to sue, but you must first file an administrative claim and receive a notice from the government that states that you have the right to sue. 

The California Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Termination Does Not Apply to Every California Worker

Many federal and state laws against discrimination and retaliation overlap. And the rights you have under California law are typically stronger and easier to access. But if you choose to file an EEOC complaint, you usually have only 180 days to file. If you are a federal employee, you must file your claim with the EEOC, and you have only 45 days to start the complaint process. 

Failing to file your complaint before the applicable statute limitations expires could forever foreclose your right to recoup financial damages and legal remedies. So, whether your deadline for taking legal action passes in 45 days, 180 days, or three years, speaking to us immediately is vital to your case. 

We Can Protect Your Rights and Your Livelihood

John Dalton has 27 years of experience advocating for employees who have fallen victim to unscrupulous employers in California. And in his decades of practice, John has won some of the largest employment discrimination verdicts in the state. At the Law Offices of John Dalton, we have the experience, we get the results, and we do not tolerate bullies in the workplace. If you have a dispute with your employer, do not hesitate to ask us for help. You can reach out to us online or call us to schedule a consultation. 

    “I highly respect John and his dedication and integrity. You will not be disappointed.” John Dalton went to work for me and delivered great results. I wasn’t sure what to do and when I found John, he explained everything nicely and he was able to get me the settlement I truly deserved. He was easy to work with and I always felt like I was kept in the loop - it was really fantastic service all around. - Steve K.
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