Like most states, California applies at-will employment provisions. Under this provision, either the employer or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, and for whatever reason. However, certain exceptions apply to this general rule, such as where employment is protected by an express contract.
If the employer terminates your contract on unlawful grounds, you can pursue a wrongful termination lawsuit against them. And to file a successful claim and receive the damages you deserve, you must file your claim within the statute of limitations period. However, the statute of limitations period varies depending on whether you are filing a claim at the state or federal level.
The statute of limitations when filing a claim at the federal level
Under the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), employers are prohibited from firing employees based on their protected characteristics. These include religion, race, disability, sex and age. If this happens, you need to file a wrongful termination claim with the EEOC within 180 days. However, this timeline can be extended to 300 days if the charge is covered by local and state anti-discrimination laws.
The statute of limitations when filing a claim at the state level
California laws, just like federal laws, prohibit employers from unlawfully dismissing their employees. Additionally, your employer cannot dismiss you for exercising your civic duties like taking up jury duties. Also, they cannot fire you for whistleblowing, participating in a lawful strike or refusing to take illegal orders.
If you are fired for any of these reasons, then you may file a lawsuit with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) within three years from the date of your dismissal.
Being unlawfully dismissed from your job can be overwhelming and difficult to cope with. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while pursuing a wrongful termination lawsuit.