Is Wrongful Termination Hard to Prove in California?

Aug 18, 2021 | Wrongful Termination

Is Wrongful Termination Hard to Prove in the California?

Wrongful termination is an intense and complicated legal matter with little room for error. These types of cases are difficult to prove, but the protections that wrongful termination provides can make it worth your time and effort. This blog will discuss what constitutes a wrongful termination case, how and why proving wrongful termination can be difficult, whether an employment contract or agreement can affect the claim, and how you may be able to establish your claim if you have been wrongfully terminated from work. 

What constitutes a wrongful termination case?

The first thing we need to understand when discussing this topic is “what constitutes a wrongful termination case?” According to federal laws, employers cannot terminate employees without just cause or without following certain procedures like giving notice or warning in advance. It can also depend on the employment contract that the employee signed when they first started the job. If this has happened then an employee may have grounds for filing a lawsuit against their employer and proving that they were wrongly fired.

On a state level, wrongful termination of an employee could be classified differently though depending on the state’s laws. The good news is that an attorney from an employment law firm will listen to your wrongful termination claim and let you know that it can be hard to prove wrongful termination.

For example, if your employers fired you for a disability, but they didn’t provide reasonable accommodations then the firing broke the law because the employee was discriminated against and didn’t receive the reasonable accommodations that are required by the law.

Another example is if an employer fired their employees based on age, sexual orientation, disability, race, national origin, or another form of discrimination. This type of firing also breaks the law, which means the employees have every right to hire an attorney to represent them in court.

This image shows wrongful termination.
Wrongful Termination

Why would my employer fire me if I did nothing wrong?

There can be many different reasons why an employers fire an employee from their job whether it be mistaken, illegal activities, not following instructions, laziness, bad performance, etc.

Other times, a worker could be fired for illegal reasons such as retaliation. Retaliation violates laws and does not constitute firing someone based on their race, gender, sexuality, age, etc.

If you feel like your employers have fired you for the wrong reasons then you should keep documentation on the firing, contact an attorney, and gather as much evidence as you can. What constitutes a firing can vary from state to state. On a federal level, the law is supposed to be a law that is enforced throughout every state.

What constitutes wrongful termination in the state of California?

In the state of California, wrongful termination is considered to have taken place when a person has been wrongfully terminated from their employment without good reason or cause. Termination is usually considered wrongful if the employer violates a contract, neglects certain procedures like giving notice and warning in advance, discharges an employee for discriminatory reasons such as ageism or disability discrimination, terminates someone because of his/her religion or race/ethnicity.

A toxic work environment full of discrimination can be one of the main sources of wrongful termination and it’s very important for any potential wrongful termination claimant to gather as much evidence as they can to successfully prove that they were fired for retaliation or discrimination reasons.

One thing to remember as an employee is there is a Statute of Limitations in the state of California, which determines whether a wrongful termination lawsuit can be filed or not.

Wrongful Termination
Wrongful Termination

Statute of Limitations in the State of California

In the state of California, the Statute of Limitations for wrongful termination is limited to a two-year statute of limitations. If an employee believes that their employer fired them for reasons other than just cause, it’s important to keep in mind that the time limit starts running when “the person knew or should have known” about their dismissal from employment.

If an employee isn’t able to prove their wrongful termination before the two-year statute of limitations then the employee won’t be able to take legal action.

You can read more about the Statute of Limitations here.

3 Ways to prove wrongful termination

It is possible to win a wrongful termination lawsuit but it takes a lot of hard work on your end to make it possible. It’s not always easy to prove that you were wrongfully terminated. However, there are some steps that can make it easier such as:

  1. Documenting everything from the time you arrive for work till the time you leave for the day.
  2. Finding witnesses who will be able to support your claims or have also experienced the same treatment while at work.
  3. Recording every interaction you have with your superiors.

Document Everything

If you feel like you may be wrongfully fired by your employers then you should start documenting everything that you can think of. Employees often make the mistake of going off memory instead of documenting incidents that happen between them and their employers. Once they are fired, they realize that they have forgotten details and it makes it harder for an attorney to help with the situation.

Witness Statements

Using witness statements is a must if you want to prove that you were fired based on employer retaliation or discrimination. Any witnesses you can find will be vital in backing up your claims against your employer and whether the employer violated any federal laws or state laws.

Another reason why it can be difficult to prove is that employers might have obscure rules in the employee handbook that employees didn’t realize that they agreed to when they signed their employee agreement. Lawyers can look into your personnel file to see if there are any loopholes that can be used to your advantage though.

Record Every Interaction

If you start to experience harassment, discrimination, or feel like retaliation might take place then you should start recording your interactions with your superior. These recordings could be evidence to support your claims of wrongful termination if you are fired from your employment.

Documenting everything during your workday, finding witnesses, recording your interactions, and collecting as much evidence as possible is the best way for you to prove that your firing by the employer breached your employment contract or was illegal in any way. If you aren’t able to provide evidence then you will need to provide credible witnesses instead.

It can be easy to prove wrongful termination if you have evidence and credible witnesses of discrimination or harassment. If your employer has a record of treating others with the same treatment then it will be easier to use this evidence and witness statements for your case.

There are some actions taken by employees in the workplace that can be classified as protected activity, which is illegal for the employer to infringe upon.

What is “protected activity”?

Protected activity laws can vary from state to state, but basically, it means that employees are protected against discrimination or termination when they engage in activities that could be considered to further their rights.

For example, discussions with co-workers about changes at the company or talking about a unionization effort can fall under this category of protected activity.

You can read more about Protected Activities in the state of California here.

Protected Activity
Protected Activity

Who does the burden of proof fall on in a wrongful termination case?

The burden of proof in wrongful termination cases is on the employee, which means that they will always need to prove that their employer had malicious intent when terminating them from employment. The employer has no burden of proof on why they terminated someone’s employment unless a claim is filed against them.

It’s important for the employee to know how best to deal with situations where their employee rights are violated. If you wait too long then it will be too late for a class action law firm to file a claim of wrongful termination on the behalf of the employee.

Who do I contact if I believe that I was wrongfully terminated?

If you’re still unsure about what your employer did wrong, speak with an employment attorney who specializes in wrongful termination claims. They will be able to help guide you through the process and provide legal advice during this difficult time.

Employment Attorneys

Employment attorneys are experts in this field and have tons of experience with wrongful termination cases. They’ll be able to advise you on what you should do next, or if it’s worth filing a claim at all.

If the employer did not follow the correct protocol when terminating an employee then they may be held liable for any damages that occurred as a result of their behavior. Employment attorneys like ourselves, know the ins and outs of employment law and can use this law to fight for an employee who was fired from their job for age discrimination, sexual harassment, toxic work environment, or other types of retaliation that an employer might have engaged in.

Employment Lawyer
Employment Lawyer

Can Crosner Legal help me with my wrongful termination case?

Our firm, Crosner Legal, has helped people settle all types of cases that include unpaid wages, hours violations, age discrimination, gender discrimination, religious discrimination, ethnic discrimination, disability discrimination, sexual harassment, toxic work environments, and workplace harassment.

If you were fired by your employer, then you can reach out for a 100% free consultation with our expert attorneys. It is hard to prove wrongful termination, but we always want to make sure that justice is served. We believe every wrongful termination claim should be checked out even if proving that the firing was legal or illegal could be difficult.

If you’d like a 100% FREE consultation to discuss your wrongful termination claim then click here.