California is an “at-will” employment state, which means that employers can generally terminate an employee for just about any reason. However, a person cannot be terminated from their job if the reason for termination is expressly forbidden by state or federal law. Wrongful termination laws are in place to protect employees from being dismissed for illegal or illegitimate reasons, and individuals can protect their rights by seeking legal representation.
At ABDI & Associates, we are standing by to help if you need a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney by your side. We have the experience handling employment law that you need to get through this challenging moment in your life, and we want to make sure that you are treated fairly, receive justice, and obtain the compensation you deserve.
Being wrongfully terminated by an employer is stressful, and you need a skilled lawyer by your side to help you get through this. At ABDI & Associates, our team has vast experience handling complex employment law claims in Los Angeles and throughout California.
· We treat every client as if they are family, which means we focus on your goals and needs as we cultivate your case strategy.
· You will always have access to your attorney when you work with us because we understand how important this type of communication is as your case moves forward.
· We have no problem taking your employment law claim all the way to trial if necessary to ensure you are treated fairly.
Wrongful termination claims in Los Angeles can be incredibly complicated, particularly when going up against a well-funded employer and their legal team. A skilled employment law attorney in LA will:
· Have extensive knowledge of all state and federal regulations regarding wrongful termination claims. The laws that regulate wrongful termination are vast and seemingly contradictory at times, but a lawyer can delve through these statutes on your behalf and work with the correct agencies to ensure you are properly cared for.
· Understand how to ensure your claim is filed on time with the appropriate agencies so it can move forward without hindrance. These claims have relatively quick reporting deadlines, and if they are not filed on time, you may not be able to recover the compensation you need.
· Fully prepare your claim for negotiations with the other team, including getting the case ready for trial if that is what is necessary to ensure success.
Wrongful termination occurs anytime a worker is fired for an illegal reason. A termination can be illegal because it violates state or federal law, public policy, a contract agreement, or court findings. There are a multitude of reasons that could make a termination “wrongful,” many of which we will discuss below.
If you think that you have lost your job wrongfully in Los Angeles, we encourage you to reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. These claims have fairly strict reporting deadlines, and your attorney needs to get to work immediately.
One of the reasons that wrongful terminations are so hard to recognize is that there are many ways that they occur. There are a variety of state and federal laws that protect individuals from wrongful termination in Los Angeles and throughout California. As we go through how wrongful termination claims arise, we will discuss and provide a citation for many of these laws.
Some of the main laws that trigger wrongful termination claims include the following:
· Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)
· Whistleblower and retaliation laws
· Wage and hour laws
· Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
· Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA)
· Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
· Title VII on workplace discrimination
· Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
· California Family Rights Act (CFRA)
· National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
This is certainly not a complete or nuanced list of the types of laws or statutes that could result in a wrongful termination claim being filed. As you can see from this list, many of these laws revolve around the federal level, but please understand that California also has aggressive laws in place that protect employees, and these state laws also play an extensive role in wrongful termination claims.
You are not expected to have to understand all of the laws that regulate wrongful layoffs or firings in California. That is the role of row attorney plays. Let your attorney proceed forward with your claim based on the appropriate laws surrounding your particular situation.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this page, California is an at-will state concerning employment. This means a few things. First, employees are free to leave their job for any reason and at any time they choose. Workers do not have to put in their two-week notice, and an employer cannot withhold payment for hours already performed if a person quits. However, being an at-will state also means that a person’s employment can be terminated by their employer for just about any reason. So long as the termination is not illegal based on law or policy, the worker will have no recourse when it comes to termination.
What typically happens is that a wrongful termination revolves around another type of violation of employment law. For example, if a person is let go because the employer does not want to accommodate a disability, then their wrongful termination will revolve around a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If the only person of color inside of a workplace loses their job after receiving threats or taunts, this very likely could turn into a workplace discrimination wrongful termination claim.
There are a variety of other ways wrongful terminations can occur, some of the most common being:
· Discussing or reporting unequal pay between men and women in the workplace
· Reporting unsafe conditions in the workplace (either internally or to external agencies)
· Refusing to participate in fraudulent activities or reporting these activities
· Requesting ADA accommodations
· Serving in the National Guard or military
· Being affiliated with a particular political party
· Reporting workplace injuries or collecting workers’ competition
Terminations that result from discrimination in the workplace will almost always be considered wrongful. However, what exactly is discrimination in the workplace? When we examine information available from the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, we can see that discrimination can occur in various ways throughout workplaces in Los Angeles and California. Specifically, federal statutes show that discrimination can occur based on a person’s:
· Race or color
· Genetic information
· National origin
· Pregnancy status
· Sexual orientation
· Gender identity
In addition to federal laws that prohibit workplace discrimination, we can also see that the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is a regulatory body within this state that protects workers’ rights as well. Typically, state employment protection agencies mimic federal law, but California has always been at the forefront of affording workers protections beyond federal statute. For example, California provided protection for employees based on their gender identity and sexual orientation before the federal statutes did, and California provides protection for gender expression as well. Additionally, California law also protects individuals from discrimination based on their current marital status.
Any termination based on discrimination in the workplace is illegal, and employees will likely have recourse through a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Under no circumstances should anyone ever have to worry about sexual harassment in the workplace. Even though the #MeToo movement has dominated the news cycle over the last few years, sexual harassment still occurs in workplaces throughout Los Angeles. This is an area of particular concern for women in the workplace, though men can absolutely experience sexual harassment as well. Additionally, harassment against workers in the LGBTQ+ community, especially transgender employees, is prevalent. These individuals also regularly face discrimination.
Looking to California Government Code (Section 12940), harassment related to sex in the workplace includes sexual harassment, gender harassment, harassment based on pregnancy or childbirth, and harassment related to medical conditions. Sexual harassment, however, can occur in a wide variety of ways on the job, including requests for sexual favors, unwelcome sexual advances, verbal sexual abuse, or even physical sexual conduct.
In many cases, individuals lose their jobs if they fail to reciprocate or if they report sexual harassment. This will likely be considered wrongful termination.
Every worker should be paid fairly according to state and federal laws. This includes pay that is appropriate for various municipalities that may have different laws regarding minimums as well as any overtime pay, agreed-upon bonuses, contractual agreements, and commissions.
Just about every employer in the state is required to pay the state-level minimum wage or the minimum wage set forth by the local county or city. The current minimum wage in California is $15.00 an hour for employers with 26 or more employees and $14.00 an hour for employers with 25 or fewer employees.
There are certainly non-exempt employees when it comes to minimum wage, but they are still typically entitled to overtime for working more than eight hours during a work day or more than 40 hours during the work week. This overtime is 1.5 times the person’s typical hourly rate.
Fair wages go beyond minimum wage. This includes pay for rest and meal breaks, work that occurs off the clock, and being paid in a timely manner.
Individuals who report wage and hourly violations could face termination, and this would likely be a wrongful termination.
Being wrongfully terminated is certainly hostile, but hostile work environments typically begin showing their hostility long before termination. There are a variety of ways that a workplace can be hostile, including acts of discrimination or sexual harassment, or an employee not receiving the correct pay or hourly rate.
Hostile work environments can also arise if individuals report unsafe working conditions or file a claim for workers’ compensation. Typically, hostile work environments are perpetuated by supervisors, but the entire culture of an environment may indeed be hostile, which means it infiltrates down to the employee level.
Individuals can lose their job by raising the alarm about certain workplace conditions or practices. When a person comes forward to report an unsafe work environment, instances of discrimination or harassment, or violations of law by the employer, they should be protected by both federal and state whistleblower laws. California has extremely strong whistleblower protections in place for employees, and this should allow workers to come forward with any information about their employer without having to worry about being fired. These protections include those:
· Who come forward two regulatory agencies or law enforcement officials to report unsafe, illegal, or fraudulent activity in the workplace.
· Who file internal reports with supervisors or internal affairs divisions.
· Who participate as witnesses for government agencies or commissions conducting investigations.
Even if a person comes forward about suspected illegal or fraudulent activity and the suspicions turn out not to be true, the employee will be protected if they truly believed there was wrongdoing. Unfortunately, supervisors and owners of companies often retaliate by terminating employment when a person comes forward.
When a person is wrongfully terminated, and they are able to prove this in court, there may be a variety of types of compensation available to them. The total amount of compensation available for a successful Los Angeles wrongful termination claim will vary depending on the facts and circumstances of each particular situation.
For example, if a person was wrongfully terminated after complaining about not receiving fair wages, they should be able to recover compensation not only for the wrongful termination claim but also back pay for all of the wages they did not receive. If a person was wrongfully terminated due to sexual harassment in the workplace, there may be different amounts of compensation available depending on the facts of the harassment.
At ABDI & Associates, we work diligently to recover the following types of compensation on behalf of every client that we serve:
· Any lost pay. If a person loses out on their salary or hourly rate as a result of a wrongful termination, or the events leading up to the wrongful termination, they must be able to recover compensation. This includes payment for the money that a person already earned by working for an employer, as well as any payment they were not able to earn because of the wrongful termination. There are several factors that can influence last pay recovery, including whether or not the person was able to find employment at the same rate relatively quickly after their wrongful termination. If a person is able to find a job, but at a lower rate than they were earning, they may be able to receive compensation to make up for the difference.
· Benefits they missed out on. Actual dollar wages are not the entire reason a person works. There are plenty of benefits that many workers in Los Angeles will miss out on if they are wrongfully terminated from their position. This can include stock options, medical or dental insurance, 401K plans, and various other benefits particular to their employment contract. Your attorney will work with trusted employment and economic experts to adequately calculate how much you missed out on and how this translates to dollar compensation.
· Emotional distress damages. Being wrongfully terminated from a position is emotionally stressful. These types of non-economic damages, which you may see termed as “pain and suffering losses,” are just as real as any other type of economic loss you may experience.
· Attorney and legal fees. Court costs, legal fees, and attorney fees are certainly a major part of these claims. There is no reason that you should have to pay these costs, and your compensation recovery should provide you with the money needed to cover them.
· Punitive damages. There may be situations where punitive or exemplary damages are awarded as a result of the actions of your employer. These types of damages are not always awarded, and they are intended to send a message and punish wrongdoers for egregious employment law violations.
At ABDI & Associates, our goal is to make sure that you are fairly compensated for the wrong you have had to endure. Wrongful termination is a serious issue, and the only way to ensure that employers discontinue these actions is to stand up to them when these violations occur. Making them pay compensation when they do wrong is a way to help guarantee this happens to nobody else.
There’s not a set amount of compensation a person will receive if their Los Angeles wrongful termination claim is successful. There are various factors that can affect the total amount of compensation paid in these situations. These factors include how serious the employment law violation is, how much income a person loses due to the wrongful termination, how much pain and suffering a person injured as a result of the termination, and various other factors. You need to secure help from an attorney who will work with trusted economic and financial experts to calculate your total expected losses in these situations.
There are several time limits in place that you need to be aware of when it comes to wrongful termination and other employment law-related claims. Employment law is a vast field, and because these violations stretch across various types of actions and state and federal laws, the deadlines are complicated. Here, we will briefly review some of the deadlines that you need to be aware of.
If the claim is filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which is typically the first recourse for cases of discrimination violations, then the claim must be filed within 180 days from when the alleged violation occurred. This 180-day deadline can be extended to 300 days if the charge is also protected through state and/or local discrimination laws.
In California, individuals can typically file a discrimination claim through the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). In the event the EEOC or the DFEH do not conduct or even complete their investigation, they will issue a notice of “right to sue” to the employee, which will then give the employee 90 days from the day they receive the letter to file a civil claim against their employer in court.
These timelines do not apply to any violation of the Equal Pay Act. If your claim is filed under this law, you will not have to file with the EEOC first in order to gain the right to have your claim heard in court.
Statutes of limitation for sexual harassment violations are also different. In California, Assembly Bill 9 (AB 9) came into effect on January 1, 2020. This law extended the total amount of time that an employee can file a harassment or discrimination charge with the DFEH to three years from the date of the alleged violation. This law does make it clear that the employee is required to file their charge with the DFEH before they are allowed to file a civil lawsuit in court. Previously, the time frame was only one year from the date of the violation.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated by a Los Angeles employer, the time to reach out for help is now. At ABDI & Associates, we have the resources and experience necessary to help every aspect of your claim. We have extensive knowledge of employment law and both the California and federal level, and we are ready to help ensure that you are properly cared for. When you need a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by filling out the contact form at the bottom of this page, or you can call us at (888) 772-2529.
Our firm is a contingency fee-based practice which means that clients pay no attorneys’ fees unless and until we recover for you. No recovery, No Fee. We even offer a free, no obligation, case evaluation and consultation
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