Everyone working throughout the United States has numerous legal protections in place at the federal level designed to ensure they do not experience illegal discrimination at work. Many states also provide additional legal protections and impose state-level requirements for employers. Unfortunately, many US workers are treated unfairly by their employers for illegal reasons. One of the most common discriminatory issues that US workers experience is wrongful termination or an incident in which an employer fires an employee for an illegal reason.
Legal Representation for Irvine Wrongful Termination Cases
Many people affected by wrongful termination may be unaware their firings were unlawful, and others may believe it would not be worth the time, effort, and expense to pursue legal action after a wrongful termination. While it’s true that succeeding with a wrongful termination claim can be challenging due to at-will employment laws and difficulty securing hard evidence, an experienced Irvine wrongful termination attorney is the ideal resource to consult if you suspect your recent firing was illegal in any way.
California Employment Counsel, APC, has years of successful employment discrimination, harassment, and wrongful termination cases to show our commitment to holding employers accountable for the illegal treatment of their employees. If you recently lost your job in the Irvine area and believe you were fired for any discriminatory reason, you likely have grounds for a civil claim against your employer. If you succeed, your former employer may face not only liability for the damages they caused you but also legal penalties for violation of state and/or federal employment statutes.
How Do I Prove Wrongful Termination in California?
One of the biggest challenges facing most people wrongfully terminated from their workplaces is proving the illegal nature of their firings. Like most other US states, California enforces an “at-will” employment rule, meaning all work relationships between employers and employees continue “at the will” of both parties. Under this rule, either party in a work relationship may terminate the relationship at any time, with or without prior notice. So, technically, an employer does not have to cite a specific reason to fire an employee, but they may not fire an employee for illegal reasons.
Wrongful termination occurs when an employer bases a firing decision on the employee’s race, skin color, sex, sexual orientation, age, medical status, disability, or other protected quality. This is discrimination, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the government agency you must contact if you believe you have experienced discrimination from your employer. This is another hurdle facing those affected by wrongful termination; they must file complaints to the EEOC before proceeding with any civil action against their employers.
Proving wrongful termination requires evidence showing that your employer based your recent firing on illegal grounds. This can be very difficult in some cases as employers who knowingly discriminate against employees and commit wrongful terminations are typically careful not to leave any documentation or other evidence behind that would prove their motivations. Instead, you may need to rely on testimony from coworkers and records of correspondence between you, your employer, and other members of your workplace. For example, a coworker may have overheard your employer making discriminatory statements about you to someone else in the days prior to your firing.
An experienced Irvine wrongful termination attorney is the best asset to have on your side when it comes to proving the truth behind your recent firing. California Employment Counsel, APC, can provide ongoing guidance and support throughout all stages of your case, from assisting you in gathering the evidence you need to substantiate your claim to filing your initial EEOC complaint.
Filing an EEOC Complaint in Irvine
Before proceeding with any civil action against your employer for wrongful termination, you must first submit a formal complaint to the EEOC. The agency will review your claim, request additional information or clarification, and investigate the claim. If the EEOC determines your claim is valid and wrongful termination has occurred, they can initiate further legal proceedings against your employer on your behalf or issue a Notice of Right to Sue that allows you to proceed with your civil claim for damages.
The EEOC claim process may seem straightforward, but any mistakes in your initial filing could significantly delay the agency’s handling of your case. Having an experienced Irvine wrongful termination attorney assist you with your EEOC complaint can streamline this preliminary phase of your case. Your attorney will also assist you in calculating the damages you can seek from your employer if the EEOC approves your claim.
In most cases, anyone who intends to file an EEOC complaint for any reason must do so within 180 days of the discriminatory event in question. It is always best to file your complaint as soon as possible. If your case hinges on witness statements, obtaining formal signed statements as quickly as possible helps to preserve the freshness of their memories and will be more supportive of your claim.
How Much Is a Wrongful Termination Claim Worth in California?
If you believe you have grounds to pursue a wrongful termination claim against your former employer, you must understand your own legal obligations in pursuing compensation for your damages. You are legally required to minimize your expenses as much as possible after being fired, meaning the law expects you to seek new employment. However, you could be compelled to accept lower-paying work than you had at your previous position. You may also face expenses related to the cost of finding new work as well as medical expenses you did not expect after losing insurance coverage from your employer.
Experiencing a discriminatory wrongful termination is also very emotionally distressing, and the plaintiff in a wrongful termination case has the right to seek compensation for the intentional infliction of emotional distress their employer committed against them. Again, this may sound like it would be difficult to quantify in monetary terms, but a good employment attorney can assist their client in determining a reasonable figure that suitably reflects the severity of their experiences.
Unfortunately, many people who have grounds to pursue wrongful termination claims in the state do not do so because of the assumption that it would cost more to file their claim than they could obtain from their employers. The reality is that when you have an experienced Irvine wrongful termination attorney handling your case, they may uncover avenues of compensation you likely would have overlooked on your own. Your total claimable damages may include:
Back pay, or the value of lost income between the time of your firing and the date of your complaint. If you were forced to take lower-paying work due to wrongful termination, you could hold your former employer accountable for the difference between what you previously earned and what your new position pays.
Lost benefits. Your former employer is liable for all related damages if you lost your health insurance or other benefits because of wrongful termination. In addition, they may face liability for medical expenses you incurred after losing the coverage provided through their insurance.
Emotional distress. There is technically no cap on the amount of compensation you can seek for intentional infliction of emotional distress in an Irvine wrongful termination case. However, your Irvine wrongful termination attorney can advise you on what would be a suitable amount to reflect the severity of your experience with your employer.
All costs associated with job searches after your wrongful firing, such as application fees to prospective new employers, enrollment in temp placement services, transportation costs for attending interviews, and any other related expenses.
The average person will likely require assistance to accurately calculate the full range of damages they can include in a wrongful termination claim. The sooner a plaintiff connects with the legal representation they can trust, they are substantially more likely to reach a favorable outcome for their recovery efforts after a wrongful termination.
What to Expect From Your Wrongful Termination Employment Attorney
Having legal counsel you can trust to assist you with an EEOC complaint concerning wrongful termination not only makes the claim filing process easier and more likely to succeed, but you are also more likely to maximize any recovery you manage to obtain from the defendant. Many wrongful termination claims are worth much more than claimants initially expect, but they need reliable legal representation to maximize their claims’ results.
When you choose California Employment Counsel, APC, to represent you in a wrongful termination suit in Irvine, we will get to work immediately reviewing the details of your experience and determining what evidence is available to support your claim. We will assist you in filing your EEOC complaint and handle any correspondence with EEOC investigators as they evaluate your case. Once you receive a formal response, our team will advise you of the best next steps to take toward holding your employer accountable for your wrongful termination.
Ultimately, every employee affected by wrongful termination will have a unique experience, and there are countless possible variables that might come into play in a complex wrongful termination case that the plaintiff will not know how to address on their own. However, if you believe a former employer wrongfully terminated you in violation of federal anti-discrimination laws, we can help. Contact California Employment Counsel, APC, today to schedule a consultation with an Irvine wrongful termination attorney you can trust with your claim.
Why Speak Up In California
You should never be afraid to assert your
rights as an employee