Need to Know Facts about Wrongful Termination in California
Employees who feel that they have been terminated or otherwise relieved of their position wrongfully have several options when it comes to wrongful termination in California. While most claims begin with the EEOC office, there is leeway for additional relief via private lawsuits in some areas.
California Discrimination Laws
Wide latitude for the pursuit of remedies, in addition to what the EEOC and other government labor agencies can pursue, is granted by California discrimination laws. Victims of wrongful termination also have the option to file a private lawsuit. The statute of limitations for discrimination claims is three years for civil action and one year for government/agency claims. In California, unlike some other states, employees are also permitted to claim reimbursement for attorney fees resulting from wrongful termination lawsuits from the employer or defendant.
EEOC Claim Filing Process
In the state of California, actions taken by the EEOC upon receipt of a claim can include investigation of the claim to determine if discrimination was a factor in the termination. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the claim, your local EEOC office may recommend and participate in mediation or assist with a conciliation process to reach a settlement agreement. If the wrongful termination is believed to be a result of discrimination, the EEOC can also file a lawsuit. If the claim has not been addressed within six months, the employee may begin pursuit of other remedies.
Claims must begin with the EEOC in California, but if compensation and relief are not forthcoming within six months of filing with the EEOC an employee rights attorney can be contacted to help pursue further negotiations with the employer or the filing of a private lawsuit. Misdemeanor charges for this offense carry penalties of up to one year in jail and up to $1,000 for individual employers and up to $5,000 for corporations.
Mandated Policy Changes
Employees who feel that their wrongful termination could be avoided for other employees in the future by mandating changes to company policies, such as jury duty and child support garnishment, can pursue this with a private lawsuit. The employee must demonstrate that existing company policy violates public policy or legal rights of employees in order to have the chance for a successful ruling. If the employee wins the lawsuit, they may or may not get their job back, but the employer will likely be required to make changes to their company policy so that future employees would be protected.
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Other Pursuable Remedies
Although the filing of an EEOC claim may not always yield a positive outcome, the state of California provides for the pursuit of other remedies through the filing of a private lawsuit. Other common remedies that can be pursued via private lawsuit include job reinstatement, back pay, compensation for stress and suffering, and punitive damages to prevent further abuse by the employer.
Regardless of the method that is used, itís important to understand what options are available to you, the employee, in the state of California. The best way to do this is to consult with an attorney who specializes in employment law and wrongful termination in California.