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Every day, many people lose their jobs for various reasons in California. Some companies must downsize and reduce the number of employees, others make calculated restructuring decisions for their organizations, and some employees fall behind in performance and fail to meet expectations. California employers generally have broad discretionary power to terminate employees under the state’s at-will employment law, but they may not fire employees for illegal reasons.

When an employee is fired for any illegal reason, such as discrimination against the employee’s personal qualities or in retaliation against a legally protected action, this is a wrongful termination. Some Riverside, CA employees are wrongfully terminated without realizing it, and they are unaware of the options for legal recourse available to them. Losing your job can be incredibly disheartening, but losing it for an illegal reason can add frustration and resentment to an already powerful mix of emotions.

If you believe you were wrongfully terminated for an illegal reason, it’s vital to consult a Riverside wrongful termination lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options for legal recourse. The right attorney can help you understand your legal options and take your case through the appropriate channels to hold your employer accountable. The Azadian Law Group, PC has extensive experience handling a wide range of employment disputes on behalf of clients in Riverside, including wrongful termination claims. We’re ready to provide the aggressive and compassionate legal counsel you need to approach your case with confidence.

Why You Need a Riverside Wrongful Termination Attorney

Wrongful termination can be very difficult to prove, and you cannot directly sue an employer for wrongful termination. There is a specific legal process you must follow to hold an employer accountable for a wrongful termination, and you would be unlikely to succeed in this effort on your own. An experienced Riverside wrongful termination lawyer is an invaluable asset when facing a difficult case like this.

Your legal team will assist you in gathering the evidence needed to prove that your termination was illegal. This evidence may include records of correspondence between you, your employer, and coworkers. You may also need to obtain statements from others in your workplace. For example, if your boss claimed to fire you for one reason but told other employees the actual reason for your firing, this may be the substantiating evidence you need to succeed with your wrongful termination case.

A wrongful termination claim must also pass through a formal review process with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This process is straightforward in theory and complex and tedious in practice. You can rely on the team at the Azadian Law Group, PC to guide you through your interactions with the EEOC and the civil case likely to follow. We can help you make a compelling case with the EEOC and help you in calculating the full scope of damages you can potentially seek from your employer.

What Is a Wrongful Termination?

Whenever an employer fires an employee for an illegal reason, a wrongful termination has taken place. For example, discrimination against the employee for their race, national origin, or religion could potentially form the basis of a wrongful termination case. It’s also possible for an employer to fire an employee in retaliation for a legally protected action, such as filing a whistleblower report in good faith or seeking to use the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to address a legitimate medical issue.

Many employers will use whatever justifications they can find to disguise wrongful terminations. One of the biggest roadblocks facing employees who have been wrongfully terminated is California’s at-will employment law. Many employers consider this law as a blanket justification to fire an employee at any time, with or without warning, and with or without any specific reason. The reality is that while at-will employment laws allow both employers and employees to end working relationships whenever they wish, this law does not permit employers to fire employees for illegal reasons.

Problems With At-Will Employment

The stated purpose of the at-will employment law is to prevent employees from being stuck in their jobs, providing them the freedom to leave whenever they like. However, the reality is the at-will employment standard allows many employers to effectively get away with wrongful termination. If an employer wants to get rid of an employee for a discriminatory reason, the at-will employment law makes this relatively easy to accomplish. The employer simply states they had a different reason to fire the employee, and it can be very challenging to prove otherwise.

The at-will employment law is one of the most commonly cited reasons for employees not to pursue wrongful termination claims. The assumption is that even if a firing is wrongful, the employer can simply use the at-will employment law as justification for their actions. However, with the right Riverside wrongful termination attorney on your side, this type of behavior won’t hold up to scrutiny.

EEOC Claims for Wrongful Termination

The EEOC is the part of the Department of Labor responsible for the investigation of violations of US employment law. If an employee experienced harassment, discrimination, or wrongful termination, they must file a claim with the EEOC and have the agency investigate the matter before they can proceed with a civil lawsuit against their employer. The EEOC must investigate claims within 180 days of their filing dates. If the EEOC reviews your claim and determines that your firing was indeed illegal, the agency will issue you a Notice of Right to Sue that allows you to proceed with a civil claim against your employer.

In most cases, the EEOC will encourage claimants and their employers to engage in settlement negotiations, but an employer may refuse to do so. If the EEOC determines the claim is legitimate, the employee can then proceed with a wrongful termination claim against the employer with the legal backing of the EEOC. In some cases, the EEOC initiates legal proceedings against employers who violate federal labor laws on behalf of affected employees.

Compensation for Wrongful Termination

Once you have the EEOC’s support behind your claim, you can proceed with a civil lawsuit against your employer. Depending on the nature of your experience, you may have more options for recovery than you initially realize. Your Riverside wrongful termination attorney can help you secure various types of damages, including:

  • Lost income and benefits. If you were wrongfully fired from your job, you likely missed income and the value of benefits your employer should have provided. Your Riverside wrongful termination lawyer will help you calculate the amount of lost income and the value of lost benefits you can include in your claim.
  • Emotional distress. Experiencing a wrongful termination can be distressing and isolating. When an employer fires you for an illegal reason, such as your protected personal qualities, this can result in tremendous emotional distress, and you have the right to seek compensation for this loss. Your attorney will help you determine an appropriate amount to include in your claim.
  • Legal fees. When you are forced to take formal legal action in response to your employer’s illegal behavior, you have the right to hold them accountable for the legal expenses you incur throughout your proceedings.
  • Punitive damages. While you cannot seek this type of compensation directly, the judge handling your case may award punitive damages if they deem the defendant’s actions warrant such action. As the name suggests, punitive damages intend to punish unethical behavior, not necessarily to compensate the victim’s loss.

Once you calculate the full scope of the damages available in your claim, you may be surprised to discover your case is worth more than you initially expected.

FAQs

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

A: Yes, but you must first obtain approval from the EEOC. Filing a civil lawsuit for wrongful termination would be unlikely to succeed without the EEOC investigating the claim and determining that the firing in question was indeed unlawful. Your Riverside wrongful termination lawyer will help you complete the necessary steps to file your lawsuit.

Q: How Do I Prove Wrongful Termination in California?

A: This is the most difficult aspect of most wrongful termination cases. However, an experienced Riverside wrongful termination lawyer can help their client determine the best way to prove the truth behind their experience. This may include statements from coworkers and former employees of the business, as well as records of correspondence between the wrongfully terminated employee and their supervisors.

Q: How Long Do You Have to Sue for Wrongful Termination in California?

A: California enforces a two-year statute of limitations or time limit for wrongful termination claims. This means you have two years from the date you were illegally fired to file your civil case. However, you have only 180 days to file your EEOC claim, and you must do this before proceeding with your lawsuit.

Q: How Much Does a Riverside Wrongful Termination Lawyer Cost?

A: Most employment attorneys charge their clients by the hour. However, the Azadian Law Group, PC offers contingency fee billing. This means we only take a fee once we win your case, and our fee is a percentage of your final case award. However, it is often possible for plaintiffs to claim compensation for their legal expenses when they succeed with their wrongful termination cases.

The Azadian Law Group, PC is ready to provide the comprehensive legal counsel you need for your wrongful termination case. Contact us today to schedule your consultation with an experienced Riverside wrongful termination attorney.

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