Wrongful Termination Attorney California | Rager Law Firm
The legal team at the Rager Law Firm takes pride in protecting the rights and best interests of clients who have been fired illegally. To schedule a consultation with our attorney, call us at 310-527-6994
1055 West 7th Street,Los AngelesCA90017
970 West 190th St.Suite 340 TorranceCalifornia90502
On behalf of Rager Law Firm posted on May 17, 2017
After working years to educate yourself, nothing is more invigorating than starting a career in a field that you both love, and can provide for a family with. Because most Californians spend 40 or more hours per week in the workplace, it’s relatively easy to become attached to the place where you earn your paycheck.
However, some unsavory employers have ulterior motives that require dismissing their employees for reasons that make little if any sense. What are professionals supposed to do when they placed all their faith and energy into an employer, only to be dismissed because of hatred, bigotry or some miscalculated character flaw? In most cases, they can do nothing at all, because many fear further retaliation if they report violations of the Equal Employment Opportunity law.
The Rager Law Firm, one of Los Angeles’s most highly respected wrongful termination attorney firms, is the wrongful termination attorney Los Angeles professionals turn to when they feel they have little recourse after being fired.
Understanding EEOC Laws
Every legal interpretation of wrongful termination leads to one main definition: an employee was fired for reasons that were against federal, state, or tribunal laws. However, employers think they can leverage California’s ‘right to dismiss without reason’ law to whatever purpose they see fit. This often times means great employees are let go without knowing the reasons why.
In California, losing your job for a perceived violation of an employment contract, because employees possess certain creeds or colors, or because an employer retaliated after being reported to local governing bodies, such as the California FEHA, is illegal.
When working on a federal contract, or if the state employee is retaliated against, certain federal statues can be used in defense of any claims brought by the employee. This means that both FEHA and EEOC can work in tandem to bring employers to justice.
If an employee is considered a 1099 subcontractor, or neither party has a contractual obligation to the other, a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney may find it difficult to bring suit because no employee contract exists to wrongfully terminate. However, under EEOC laws, there may be a possibility of bringing suit under breach of contract laws if sufficient evidence exists. It also may be possible to prove that a 1099 subcontractor, who didn’t have a relationship with an employer, was controlled enough by having specified work hours, specified supervisors to report to, or enough provable control by an employer to merit being considered an employee by California law.
The Rager Law Firm has enough experience defending cases where the definition of ‘employees’ was both clearly defined and somewhat ambiguous.
Are California Terminations Growing?
As more people enter the workforce, and new companies are formed, the number of active hourly and salaried employees California will undoubtedly increase. Regardless who governs the state or presides over our country, employers will craftily find ways to terminate employees that shouldn’t have been terminated in the first place.
In fiscal year 2016, over 5800 Californian employees were terminated against EEOC rules. Although still less than Florida, this number accounted for 6.4% of all United States cases. Individuals are being terminated wrongfully in California 25 times more frequently than Connecticut, nearly 10 times more frequently than the District of Columbia, and nearly double that of New York.
Over 1900, or 30%, of the 5800 terminations were related to race. And over 2100 terminations were done so out of retaliation, meaning 40% of the employees in EEOC’s data were let go for no other reason but trying to do the right, albeit report a sexual assault, workplace injury or violation, or attempt to stop nefarious acts from unintentionally bringing another employee down.
Fiscal year 2015 was slightly worse, with the EEOC reporting 6199 filings by employees wrongfully terminated, retaliated against or sexually assaulted then dismissed. Of those filings, 496 were based off race. So, while the numbers in 2016 went down as a whole, the number of terminations based solely on race nearly quadrupled.
There’s nothing attractive about this data, because thousands of people went home to their families and report they lost their job for no reason. Some may have had two or three decades of seniority at their company, some may have been powerful executives forced out because of conflicting skin color or ideologies. The Rager Law Firm is the wrongful termination attorney Los Angeles employers fear because we’re thorough in getting to the bottom of every California wrongful termination.
As it appears these statistics are in fact growing, we are reminded that no matter how hard we work, or how much we contribute to a company’s cause, laws don’t seem to apply to some businesses – or so they think. This fact, alone, is why so many Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney firms are available today.
Types of Wrongful Termination in Los Angeles
Wrongful termination cases will never be identical; each employee who brings claims of being terminated without legal cause has their own underlying circumstance, and each suit its own meritorious defense. The Rager Law Firm looks at all cases, taking each case as serious as the next.
Here are some common types of wrongful termination claims brought to our office:
it’s sad that even five decades after the civil rights act written into law, cases of employees being terminated because of a certain skin color are still prevalent. But unfortunately, it’s true. Being terminated or denied promotion because you’re an African-American, Pacific Islander, of Asian descent or even Hispanic is not only illegal, it’s unethical and proves how infantile employers can still be. If you are terminated based off race, you have a substantial case which The Rager Law Firm will gladly litigate for you.
Reporting or having been sexually assaulted
The perversion of our society reaches our places of employment. Single executives, supervisors or even married folk have no qualms about assaulting younger professional women, even some men, in their place of business. If you are terminated because you were sexually assaulted, or stood up for a friend coworker who was sexually assaulted and got fired, you have a claim of wrongful termination amongst many other things.
1058, or roughly 11%, of all EEOC complaints in 2015 were related to national origin. People from Africa, Europe, Asia and all other countries who make their home in California are protected from such hatred. If your employer terminates you because you’re from Israel and have an Israeli accent, for example, our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney will gladly fight to recover damages caused by your termination.
It’s not completely uncommon for employers to terminate because you do not practice an ‘approved’ or ‘preferred’ religion. In 2016, 274 cases of religious discrimination leading to termination were reported by the EEOC, a total of 7.2% of the state’s wrongful termination total. When, where, why, and how you practice your religion is your business. If you are terminated for performing a daily ritual at work (provided it’s not purposely stalling operations), your employer can be held liable financially, and punitively.
Although it coincides closely with race, color related terminations aren’t entirely impossible to prove. If you’re being scrutinized because your skin pigmentation doesn’t match what your employer thinks it should, or if you’re purposely being called names then terminated based off skin color, our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney will litigate on your behalf.
A growing trend in California-based firings is being terminated because an employer felt like retaliating against an employee for whatever reason. They may not like the employee, or perhaps the company was performing duplicitous acts for which the employee thought reporting said acts was doing justice for the greater good. Retaliation is a huge no-no in EEOC and FEHA codes, with juries often rewarding whistleblowers or victims in general very large sums of money, while reprimanding employers with heavy fines and forcing them to make sweeping changes to their codes of conduct.
259 EEOC claims of age discrimination were reported in California for fiscal year 2016. While not entirely common, our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney will fight for employees who were dismissed because they were either growing too old for their position, or don’t fit a specific age demographic suddenly being sought by company executives.
The Americans With Disabilities Act provided a pathway for those who wanted to enter the workforce, but had specific disabilities that may prevent them from working certain hours, or in certain positions or situations. Being terminated in the state of California because you are disabled but are still able to perform vital job functions, or being made fun of because your stature, method of walking or talking aren’t similar to everyone else’s is illegal, unethical and easily litigable with a preponderance of evidence that an employer based their firing off your disability.
During your job interview, or throughout the course of your employment, an employer cannot terminate you because you’re single, widowed, married, or are in a same-sex marriage. Prospective employees cannot be asked if they are in a relationship or union during the interview. The Rager Law Office has fought judiciously to protect employees who were terminated based off of their relationship preference, or their lack of voicing such when asked.
Military service status
Whether or not someone has served in the military, what branch they decided to serve in, or their current discharge status are protected under the EEOC. Unless the position being applied for specifically mandates that military personnel are necessary, an employer cannot discharge you simply because you never served, or served in a branch the employer may not be fond of.
An employer may not incite, for the purposes of making an employee feel uncomfortable, a workplace that is purposely hostile. This means the employer cannot request other employees ‘force out’ someone the employer is targeting for termination, hoping the employee will become intimidated and simply walk out instead. The Rager Law Firm takes incitation of workplace hostility seriously, and will rigorously defend ex-employees ousted because an employer created an unnecessarily hostile workplace.
This list is obviously not all-inclusive; there are many extenuating circumstances that would cause an employer to wrongfully terminate some or all of their workforce. In California, it seems to happen every day. When you call the wrongful termination attorney Los Angeles employees have used in the past, The Rager Law Firm, you put a genuine ally in your corner ready to fight all facets of wrongful termination.
If you have been given the legal right to work in the United States, but have not awarded US citizenship, you’ll work as an immigrant. Employers who hire you may not later discriminate because of your immigration status, or terminate you because your immigration status has not been upgraded to permanent resident status. The Rager Law Firm handles claims like this frequently, with our Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney getting favorable results in a fair amount of time.
Violation of Public Policy
Employers may not ask you to commit a felony to cover up their wrongdoing, nor can they terminate your employment for refusing to do so. Some examples of this may include failing to manipulate orderly earnings reports, which may influence a stock’s value. If you’ve been terminated after being asked to commit fraud than report such to a government agency, you may be entitled to substantial compensation for an employer forcing you to violate public policy.
I’ve Been Wrongfully Dismissed from My Job. What Do I Do?
If you’ve been an unfortunate victim of job termination without just cause, your next steps could dictate the outcome of any claim you make. In California, the EEOC must have a claim on file within a certain amount of time after the incident occurred. Their determination will dictate what steps are followed next.
While you can retain The Rager Law Firm anytime you’ve been wrongfully terminated, procedure must be followed, or our hands may be tied, too.
Follow these steps if you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job in the state of California:
If you’ve been asked to clean out your desk or workspace, do so in a calm and quiet manner. Witnesses for the employer may be looking for reasons to discredit you knowing you’ll probably file an EEOC claim, so keep a cool head.
Ask any employees, in a discreet manner, if they’d be willing to be contacted by an attorney or be included in your EEOC claim. Any friends or relatives you work with would be ideal character witnesses.
Contact your local FEHA office to report your incident, and learn more about the process of filing an Equal Employment Opportunity claim. It’s at this point you may also retain a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney from our office.
If you’ve not been paid for your final week or pay period of service, bring documentation of your last paycheck before being wrongfully terminated and let our office, the FEHA, or both know you’re expected take home pay for your final paycheck. We want to make sure the employer doesn’t retaliate against your pay, as that could potentially be another violation.
It’s also a good idea at this phase to bring any bills that could go into arrears because of your termination; this falls under ‘pain and suffering’.
Once you’ve involved our office and the two California employment action agencies, avoid any unnecessary contact with your previous supervisor or employer. Do not drive by, stalk, blog or review your employer because they may raise claim against you for harming their business unnecessarily.
The EEOC & DFEH Complaint Process
California’s FEHA, or Fair Employment and Housing Act, gives employees recourse for wrongful terminations based on any of the aforementioned grounds. The EEOC, too, gives illegally discharged employees a platform they can complain, possibly force an employer to change the rules and rehire the employee, or provide sufficient grounds to seek private litigation. Dissimilar to federal laws, coworkers can also be held liable under EEOC and FEHA statues.
To have your claim heard in a timely manner, there is a process which must be followed accordingly.
FEHA claims are filed with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). As antidiscrimination laws in California are more favorable to employees who were terminated from smaller businesses, you should file your claim with DFEH if your company employed between 5 and 14 employees.
EEOC only covers companies with greater than 15 employees, or 20 employees if the claim being raised is age-related.
The Rager Law Firm has a Los Angeles wrongful termination attorney who specializes in claims filing with the above-mentioned departments. Before this process runs its course, here are a few things to note prior to, and throughout, your filing:
Your claim is protected under California law if filed within one year of the date you believe acts of discrimination leading to wrongful termination occurred. If filing with the EEOC, you have 300 days.
Given these extended deadlines, it’s still a good idea to file your claim immediately as some delays are expected.
With or without an attorney, claim will be assigned a ‘charge number’ with the EEOC, and a similar control number with the FEHA. Do not lose these numbers.
Within 10 days, your employer will receive a copy of the filed complaint.
At this point, employer will have a chance to file rebuttal or an answer. Once the EEOC or FEHA have received your ex-employer’s information, it’ll undergo an internal review conducted usually by an investigator. At that point, one of three things may happen:
1. The agencies may ask a lawyer to provide more information or answer additional questions related to your claim, or
2. Request both you and your employer take part in a mediation program, or
3. Completely dismiss your claim because of frivolity, missed deadline or lack of jurisdiction
Either agency may decide your claim didn’t constitute wrongful termination, but will follow that answer with a ‘Notice of Right to Sue’ letter. It’s at this point where The Rager Law Firm, if previously retained, will become more heavily involved in seeking compensation for your illegal loss of employment. We will have 90 days of the date of the agency’s final decision to file suit in state or federal court.
If for some reason claim is settled at the agency level, you’ll sign a waiver which essentially stops you from seeking private action.
I’m In a Contract. Does EEOC Apply to Me?
Depending on the verbiage of the contract, individuals agree to work for an ‘x’ amount of time and ‘x’ amount of pay may be able to skip the EEOC claims filing process. For example, if you have a written contract to complete a software program for $50,000, and have six months to complete it, employers are legally bound to have the entire balance paid provided contractor has held their end of the bargain. So, in this scenario, a contractor who completes their duties in five months but are insufficiently paid can have a similar to that of a wrongful termination, although the EEOC wouldn’t be a prudent venue since it involves less than 15 employees.
Executives in corporate settings often have contracts giving them a specified salary, stock options and other perks provided certain performance levels are achieved. An employer may be held responsible if they fail to properly compensate executives who exceed agreed upon achievements.
However, if you’re a salaried or hourly employee and are switched to contract status because your employer feels you may retaliate against them, you may be entitled to compensation since switching employment status to ‘contractor’ then being terminated for no reason could merit two separate claims.
Short answer: contract law rarely involves state or federal agencies unless the contract in question originated from a state or federal source, such as a large construction project on federal property.
Fighting Wrongful Termination Alone? Read This.
Wrongful termination laws have been heavily scrutinized since the early 1980s because employees who are dismissed in bad faith aren’t always afforded punitive and emotional distress compensation they feel that they are rightfully entitled to. This fact becomes more amplified when ex-employees file suit pro se since those who lack legalese aren’t fully aware of what benefits are available to them should they present a successful case in jury trial.
Moreover, to prove a wrongful termination case, litigants must:
Provide substantial evidence their job loss resulted from reckless termination under California law, usually stemming from discrimination or hostility
Prove that their case can be placed in the jurisdiction of California courts
Prove that their job loss caused undue financial hardship
Prove that hardship is worth ‘x’ amount of money being sought
While it may seem easy on the surface to litigate these cases in court, many hours of preparation and discovery are required to win even the smallest of claims.
Fighting your claims alone may seem more ‘fiscally feasible’, however your chances of victory are much slimmer without legal representation, and that’s the truth.
The Rager Law Firm Difference
Now that you’ve had an opportunity to learn more about wrongful termination, perhaps you’re contemplating hiring a law firm to recover lost wages, benefits or even reinstate your position. Since no magic eight-ball exists to predict the outcome of court cases, many ex-employees who’ve been dismissed unfairly may be apprehensive in hiring legal counsel to protect their interests.
The Rager Law firm, a wrongful termination attorney Los Angeles has known and trusted for decades, with love to fight next to you in cases where your job was stripped by no fault of your own.
The benefits of hiring a law firm include:
The peace of mind knowing someone other than yourself believes in your innocence.
Having access to competent counsel with knowledge of state and federal courts, and complete understanding of employment law.
An increased chance of receiving a much more favorable settlement, as opposed to what you may receive fighting an employer alone. This may include recovering compensation for loss of consortium, which means your spouse or significant other suffered losses because of your termination.
The opportunity to hold your employer accountable for negligence of their duty, which may prevent other employees from encountering similarly horrifying actions in the future.
Negotiation power which may keep your case out of court is at your disposal. Because many companies prefer to save face, settling out of court is often more prudential than a lengthy trial.
Ultimately, the decision whether or not your wrongful termination case merits legal action depends upon you. As you’ve already lost your job, it’s safe to assume you have nothing more to lose by hiring The Rager Law Firm to look further into your case and determine potential courses of action.
If you need immediate assistance with your wrongful termination case, please do not hesitate to contact our office for a free initial case evaluation. Our fee structure is fair, our results are measurable by the reviews we’ve received, and we do not stop fighting until financial justice has been served.
Call or visit our office to experience The Rager Law Firm difference.