Oakland Wrongful Termination Lawyer
Losing one’s job is a very tough and emotional thing to go through; no one likes the idea of being unable to support their family, and being fired or laid off can even trigger feelings of embarrassment or downright shame. Something that can add to feelings of frustration, anger, or even sadness may be the thought that the termination wasn’t justified. Indeed, feeling as though you were wrongfully terminated can be exasperating, especially if you feel as though you have nowhere to turn.
While taking action can be difficult, if you are someone who has been wrongfully terminated, you have the right to seek a legal remedy. At the Dolan Law Firm, our Oakland wrongful termination lawyer can help you explore your options if you feel as though you have been wrongfully terminated. Please call us today for a free consultation and we will review your case.
What Is Wrongful Termination?
The Legal Information Institute of Cornell University Law School explains that wrongful termination is an employee’s claim that they were fired, and that the firing breached a contract held between the employee and the employer, or a public law. Most wrongful termination suits are based on a breach of public law, rather than the breach of a contract between an employee and employer, as most employees are at-will employees, which means their employment can be terminated at will without cause.
Reasons Why a Person May Allege Wrongful Termination
A person cannot claim wrongful termination just because they were fired; as stated above, most positions are at-will, which means that an employer (or employee) has every right to terminate the employment for any reason without having to establish a just reason. However, there are some grounds on which an employer cannot fire an employee, and a firing based on these grounds is considered illegal. These grounds include discrimination, retaliation, firing based on an employee exercising a legal right (such as the right to protest something), or firing based on an employee exercising a right under another law, such as the right to take time off without being fired under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Some examples of the above include the following:
- An employee cannot be fired for anything related to their race, gender, disability, pregnancy, political affiliation, religion, age, sexual identity or preferences, income, ethnicity, family status, etc.;
- An employee cannot be fired for filing a labor violation complaint;
- An employee cannot be fired for protected leave under FMLA or other leave they are entitled to (such as maternity leave);
- An employee cannot be fired for filing a workers’ compensation claim;
- An employee cannot be fired for refusing to do something illegal;
- An employee cannot be fired for performing a statutory obligation (such as a staff member at a nursing home reporting an incident of staff-on-patient abuse); and
- An employee cannot be fired for exercising their right to vote or for protesting a public policy issue.
The above list is not inclusive; anytime a person is fired and the termination is a breach of public law, wrongful termination has occurred. As a note, remember that a wrongful termination suit may also be brought forth if there is a contract violation. For example, if an employer and employee entered into a contract that states that the employment will last for a 24-month time period, and the employee is fired after 12 months for a reason that is not listed as a contingency within the contract, the employee may have a wrongful termination suit.
What Remedies Are Available in a Wrongful Termination Suit?
Proving wrongful termination can be difficult. While at-will employment is not an excuse for wrongful termination, there is no doubt that when employment is at-will, wrongful termination can be harder to prove. There must be hard evidence in place to show that your position was terminated directly as a result of an action you took (like filing a workers’ compensation claim) or as a result of discrimination.
If evidence exists to prove wrongful termination, you can seek legal remedies for the wrongful termination. Types of remedy might include:
- Reinstatement to your position;
- Compensation for lost wages, both past and future; and
- Compensation for emotional distress.
You may start the process by filing a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). The Department encourages those who believe that the wrongful termination occurred as a result of discrimination to file a complaint within one year. Once you file a complaint, the DFEH will investigate the allegations.
If you do not want the DFEH to investigate your wrongful termination claim, you can file a lawsuit on your own. In either case, one of the most important steps to take as soon as possible is to hire an experienced Oakland wrongful termination attorney. An attorney can aid you in filing your complaint with the DFEH, or by filing a lawsuit directly against your former employer and seeking damages for any losses you have incurred.
How Our Law Firm Helps You
The employment lawyers at the Dolan Law Firm are passionate about protecting employees’ rights in Oakland. When you call our law offices, we will provide you with a free consultation where we will review your case and give you our professional opinion regarding whether or not you have a case. If we think you have a wrongful termination suit, we will help you to explore your options, explain the remedies that may be available for you, and then initiate the process. When you hire us, our services include an investigation into your case to prove the wrongful termination. We are skilled negotiators with over 20 years of experience, and are also comfortable in the courtroom.
If you are a victim of wrongful termination, don’t wait any longer to reach out to a legal advocate. You can reach our law firm online or by phone today, and we will schedule your consultation as soon as possible.