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San Diego Wrongful Termination Attorney

Have you recently lost a job in San Diego, California? When you are fired from a job, it never feels good. However, if you were wrongfully terminated, you may be able to seek compensation. Although California is an “at-will” employment state, meaning that either party can decide to terminate the employment relationship, the existence of a contractual obligation or public policy exception to the contrary could mean that you were wrongfully terminated.

Employees are made to believe by their employers that they can be let go at any time. However, certain laws have been established to protect employees who are terminated based on their specific inherent characteristics. Under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer may not terminate an employee based on certain protected classes including: race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition, pregnancy, or age.

If you have been wrongfully terminated, you need to get legal assistance as soon as possible. At Walker Law, our San Diego wrongful termination attorneys can help you obtain the compensation that you deserve. If you live in the San Diego area, call Walker Law to obtain legal representation in order to pursue your claim.

How We Approach Wrongful Termination Claims In San Diego

Wrongful termination refers to situations in which employees are fired or laid off for reasons that are prohibited by state or federal law or public policy. Both federal and state laws protect employees in the workplace from discrimination, harassment claims, and other acts that jeopardize equal treatment and employee safety. Employees are also protected by public policy; for example, you cannot be forced to break the law for the sake of your job or prevented from reporting violations of the law.

Wrongful termination occurs when an employee has been fired illegally. It typically occurs as a result of two different factors: discrimination or retaliation. It may involve a violation of the law or a contractual breach. It is illegal to fire an employee based on his or her age, race, ethnic background, disability, arrest history, political stance, or marital status. In addition to protecting against discrimination, federal and state laws also prohibit employers from taking retaliatory actions against employers who complain about instances of workplace harassment, discrimination, or violations of labor laws.

Most employees are “employees at will,” meaning they can quit or be fired at any time.
However, there are specific circumstances in which a terminated employee may have legal grounds to challenge the dismissal. Wrongful termination damages may be awarded in cases of race or gender discrimination, employer retaliation, or other circumstances indicating a violation of public policy or a breach of an implied employment contract.

How The Law Protects Employees From Wrongful Termination

For discrimination claims, the following are classes protected by law. An employer cannot terminate an employee on the basis of these circumstances:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Disability, either physical or mental
  • Religion
  • Ancestry
  • Origin of nationality
  • Military service and veteran status
  • Pregnancy or other medical conditions
  • Leave for medical reasons
  • Age
  • Gender identity or sexual orientation
  • Political opinions

Retaliation claims are based on the principle that the employer fires the employee in reaction to an action taken by an employee. An employer can be successfully sued if the employee can show that the firing was in response to any of the following:

  • Whistleblowing
  • Reporting a harassment or discrimination claim
  • Taking time away from work to vote or serve on a jury
  • Using the Family and Medical Leave Act to take time off
  • Serving in the military

How California Laws Protect Employees From Wrongful Termination

Compared to other states, California is regarded as one of the most progressive states in affording employees rights. While California recognizes the employment at-will doctrine, the following are considered exceptions to the ability to terminate an employee at any time:

  • The firing occurred for reasons that were contrary to California public
  • The firing violated an implied employment contract for employment in which an employer has made verbal or written representations of continued employment, such as in employment manuals, written policies, or other written communications.
  • The employer violated an implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in contracting with the employee. The good faith covenant is open to interpretation and provides a potentially arguable catch-all protection for employees fired maliciously.

Additionally, employees in California may have a wrongful termination case if terminated due to intolerable working conditions, inhumane work conditions, or a hostile work environment, known as “constructive discharge”. This is referred to as constructive discharge.

Preparing for a San Diego Wrongful Termination Case

When it comes to proving that you were wrongfully terminated, evidence is everything. A experienced San Diego wrongful termination lawyer can assist in helping you ascertain your rights, understand the circumstances surrounding your dismissal, and assist in preparation of gathering evidence to support your case.

Even if California law or federal statutes do not directly apply to a wrongfully terminated employee’s circumstance, a skilled attorney can still explore other possible avenues to persuade employers to provide just compensation. For example, a lawyer could argue that an implied contract was instituted that an employee relied upon. These arguments are known as “equitable” theories.

If you have experienced wrongful termination, get legal assistance immediately. Our attorneys will advise you on how to pursue compensation for your job loss and help you to determine your status with regard to pursuing compensation for your termination.

What Damages Can I Recover in a Wrongful Termination Case?

If your job has been wrongfully terminated, you are eligible to file a civil suit so that you are compensated for the damages you suffered due to your former employer’s misconduct. To be eligible for damages, you must demonstrate to the court that you suffered losses.

You can sustain damages due to a wrongful termination case in San Diego in several ways. Some of the damages you may sustain when terminated from your job unlawfully are listed below.

Recovery of Lost Wages

When you win a wrongful termination lawsuit, you are repaid for the wages you would have otherwise made if you had not lost your job. Included in the recovery of lost wages is the day-to-day pay you missed and the overtime and other types of compensation you missed out on.

You are entitled to compensation for your lost wages during your unemployment. If you find another job that pays as much or more than the job you lost, you will only be able to receive compensation for the time between losing your original job and getting the new one.

If you are forced to accept a job that pays less, you can recover compensation that covers the gap between what you once made and what you make now due to the wrongful termination.

Emotional Anguish and Psychological Damages

In San Diego, suffering from emotional anguish due to an employer wrongfully altering your employment state means your former employer could potentially owe you damages. The emotional damage suffered due to being wrongfully terminated can express itself through depression and anxiety. It may also manifest itself through physical systems.

Emotional and psychological damages are harder to quantify monetarily than other damages. The jury will typically determine how much the defendant should pay the terminated employee based on the evidence presented in the wrongful termination lawsuit.

Punitive Damages Might Be Awarded

When an employer behaves egregiously, the plaintiff could be eligible for punitive damages. Punitive damages are not compensatory damages. The purpose of punitive damages is to punish the employer and to act as a deterrent for other employers who might treat employees similarly.

The court will decide if punitive damages are in order and how much should be awarded. Punitive damages are impossible to estimate since so much leeway is left to the judge or jury.

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Termination in San Diego

In the state of California, there are two types of cases that employees who were wrongly terminated can file. The limitations depend on the reasons found for the termination to have been illegal.

There are some wrongful terminations that come up again and again in wrongful termination lawsuits in California. They are as follows:

  • Breaching an implied contract
  • Violating a public policy
  • Retaliation from an employer
  • State or federal laws are being violated and allowing the employer to retaliate against whistleblowers.

The timeline for the statute of limitations depends on the type of lawsuit filed. The statute of limitations can be anywhere from two to four years. A San Diego wrongful termination attorney can answer any questions you may have.

San Diego Wrongful Termination Claims We Handle

We provide a free consultation to evaluate your case and we can help with all types of wrongful termination claims in the San Diego area, including:

  • You were fired from your job because of discrimination.
  • Your employer fired you for requesting unpaid leave you are entitled to under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • An employer retaliated against you by firing you because you refused to submit to unwanted sexual attention or advances.
  • An employer fired you for raising concerns with the employer or your co-workers about wages, work conditions, or other violations of workplace law.
  • You were fired while being bound by an employment contract with the employer who agreed that you couldn’t be fired without reasonable cause or for a specific time period.

Get Legal Representation From Our San Diego Wrongful Death Lawyers

If you were wrongfully terminated, you should speak with a lawyer as soon as possible. We will point you in the right direction, providing you with the advice and support that you need to obtain compensation from your employer. If you need assistance with any wrongful termination case in the San Diego area, do not hesitate to contact us.

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