Making a living is difficult enough without being the target of a wrongful termination or another illegal action by an employer. While California is an “at will” employment state, it is illegal for an employer to discharge an employee for reasons that violate state or federal laws. If you or a loved one has been fired recently, and you would like to learn more about your legal rights, the Orange County wrongful termination attorneys at Howard Law, P.C., will be glad to talk to you about the circumstances of your discharge. As experienced employment lawyers, we can help you determine whether you may have a cause of action against your former employer.Understanding When to Bring a Wrongful Termination Claim
The term “at will” employment simply means that an employer does not need to have a good reason to fire or lay off an employee. In fact, the employer does not need to have any reason at all. It is even permissible to fire an employee for a bad reason, as long as that reason does not run afoul of the law. For example, if a worker is let go because his supervisor believes that he stole money when, in fact, another employee was the culprit, this is not necessarily a wrongful termination.
However, a problem arises when an employer discharges an employee based on their race, gender, religion, age, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. An employee who is fired due to one of these factors may have a wrongful termination claim under a federal law, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, or the Americans with Disabilities Act, or under a state law like the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA). There are also laws that protect employees from being terminated due to being pregnant, refusing to commit an illegal act, taking family or medical leave, serving on a jury, or exercising a right that is protected by public policy. (It should be noted, however, that some laws apply only to businesses that have a certain number of employees.)
Although an employee’s rights and remedies may differ depending upon the particular law under which they seek relief, in many cases a charge must be filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a similar state agency before the employee has a right to file a formal complaint in court. The time limit for doing this may be very short (especially for certain types of employees) when compared to statutes of limitations for other civil actions. Thus, it is critical that an employee who has been wrongfully terminated contact an attorney as soon as possible after they are fired so that the necessary documents may be prepared.Contact a Wrongful Termination Attorney in Orange County
The attorneys at Howard Law, P.C., can help you navigate the claims process of a wrongful discharge case and explain the possible remedies if your case is successful, such as reinstatement, back pay, front pay, injunctive relief, compensatory damages, punitive damages, and payment of attorneys’ fees. Our Orange County wrongful termination lawyers represent employees in Anaheim, Santa Ana, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, Long Beach, Pomona, and Riverside, as well as other cities in Orange, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties. For a free case evaluation, call us now at (800) 872-5925 or contact us online. We also can assist people who need a sexual harassment attorney or representation in other types of employment claims.