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Sacramento Employment Law Blog


How to File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit and Win

Many people have found themselves dealing with a wrongful termination scenario at some point in their career. If you are reading thins article you may be one. The most common instances of wrongful termination is in cases of discrimination. Discrimination cases can include a termination based on age, color, race, disability, religion, pregnancy, sex, or retaliation. The government has placed laws against these discriminatory practices to protect employees. There are however laws under the Federal Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects employers as well. Each state has a different in depth policy when filing a wrongful termination claim, but the general process for filing a claim is to go through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Here’s a detailed look at How to File a Wrongful Termination Suit…

  1. Have a good understanding of the wrongful termination laws in the state in which you work.
  2. Always review your employment contract or employee manual to determine what violations your employer has committed, if any. If there is something you do not understand it is better to meet with a wrongful termination lawyer so he/she can better interpret the document with you.
  3.  Get copies of your termination paperwork or any written documents stating that you have been fired.
  4. Find the closest EEOC office to you.
  5. Determine what type of discrimination claim you are filing with the EEOC.
  6. File your claim either by mail or in person.
  7. It is EEOC policy that you must file your claim within 180 days of your termination date to have your claim considered. If the charge is covered by state law, the time frame is extended to 300 days.
  8. Include all important information such as your name, address, phone number(s) and be sure to include all contact information of your previous employer.
  9. Include whether or not you are a member of a union with the details of your organization.
  10. Be patient, and wait to be contacted by an EEOC agent. After you have received your filed claim, the EEOC will send a notice of charges to your employer within 10 days. *Please note: If the claim was not filed in the correct time period, or is not in its jurisdiction, they will close the case as soon as possible. However if the EEOC does take on your case, they will hire an investigator to look into your claim. The investigation times vary based on case specifics including the nature of the claim. According to the EEOC, claims are usually processed in 6 months.
  11. Once the EEOC has reached a verdict you may consult with them on what actions you should take following the investigation. The EEOC will either send you a Notice-of-Right-to-Sue, which will give you permission to take the employer to court, or they will try to reach a voluntary settlement with the employer if they find a violation present during the investigation.

Now let’s look at how to ensure victory in your Lawsuit against your employer….

Wrongful termination can be difficult to prove, because most states have an “at will” policy in their documents, which means that either the employee or the employer may terminate employment at any time without consequences. As stated earlier there are absolutely illegal reasons to terminate an employee. If you can prove you were terminated due to one of these reasons you are well on your way to winning your case. You can win a wrongful termination lawsuit by proving you were fired because of discrimination, retaliation or defamation of character.

  1. Review your employment contract and check for your signature. Many time employers that rush the hiring process leave out this important step. The contract may also contain terms that instruct a process for termination. Use these terms to determine whether you are afforded any rights during termination.
  2. Determine whether an implied contract is in place. An implied contract would be considered handbooks, policy manuals and other documentation between the employer and employee. Check if your implied contract entitles you to a notice period or severance pay before you are terminated.
  3. Always document your termination process. Write down all the details and circumstances of your termination immediately after it happens. Include a timeline of all related events included when you were notified of your dismissal. Be sure to also include the names of everyone involved.
  4. Determine why you were terminated!
  • Discrimination related- It is against the law to be terminated based on your race, gender, age, national origin, religion or disability. If you have evidence that you were terminated for one of these reasons, you will need to include evidence of this.
  • Retaliation related- It is against the law to be terminated for reporting the company to authorities if they violate a law or commit an illegal act. Make sure you can prove that an illegal act was committed and you reported it right away.
  • Character Defamation-  It is against the law for your employer to make slanderous or libelous remarks about you which led to your termination. You will have a big chance to win your lawsuit. Make sure you document the defamation and gather contact information for any witnesses.

5. File a detailed complaint with the EEOC

6. Lastly, always remember to hire a knowledgable employment attorney