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Wrongful Termination in California
Statute of Limitations With Examples

In California, the statute of limitations, or the official deadline for taking legal action, for wrongful termination is 2 years from the date of the termination.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

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What is Wrongful Termination?

Wrongful dismissal is a situation that occurs when an employee's contract of employment has been terminated by the employer, where the firing either breaks 1 or more terms of the contract of employment, or a statute provision or rule in employment law. Laws of wrongful termination vary according to the terms of the employment contract, as well as the laws and public policies of the state where the employment occurred.

Examples of Wrongful Termination

California is an at-will employment state, meaning that employers can fire an employee without a reason. However, termination cannot be based on retaliation or discrimination. Some of the most common examples of wrongful termination include:

  • Retaliation for a Workers’ Compensation Claim
  • Retaliation for Reporting Sexual Harassment
  • Age Discrimination
  • Racial Discrimination
  • Whistleblower Retaliation
  • Violating the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

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How Do I Defend Myself From Wrongful Termination?

Save letters, memos, performance evaluations, emails, text messages, and other types of documents and communications related to your employment. Print and save any emails your supervisor sent about the good work you did on a particular project. This constitutes evidence of your good performance.

What is the Most You Can Get for Wrongful Termination?

While multi-million awards are possible in rare cases of wrongful termination, it is important to remember that federal laws limit the amount of punitive damages awarded in these types of claims. They cannot exceed $50,000 – $300,000, depending on the number of employees working at the employer's business.

What is Constructive Dismissal?

In employment law, constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns due to the employer creating a hostile work environment. Since the resignation was not truly voluntary, it is, effectively considered a termination. The specific legal consequences of constructive dismissal vary from state to state, but typically the action leads to the employee's obligations ending and the employee acquiring the right to file suit against the employer.

What is the Statute of Limitations on Constructive Discharge in California?

As of January 1, 2020, there is a 3-year statute of limitations for wrongful constructive discharge of a whistleblower or for a violation of California's Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA), which covers employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and failure to accommodate.

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