California law provides various forms of protections for workers here. One area where those protections comes into play is retaliation against a worker for exercising her legal rights. There are many acts that a worker may do and the employer cannot punish the worker for it or, if they do, they are in violation of the law. One of these rights is availing yourself to the legal system to challenge your employer’s violation of employment laws, such as the Fair Employment and Housing Act. If you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated from your job in retaliation for exercising your rights, you should contact an experienced Oakland employment attorney about your situation.
A.Q. was a worker in a similar and unfortunate situation. She was an employee who worked at an Orange County restaurant and who sued after the employer allegedly failed to pay overtime wages in accordance with federal “wage and hour” laws, including the Fair Labor Standards Act. A.Q. won that lawsuit.
Along the way, though, the employer fired A.Q. This allowed the employee to pursue an additional claim against the employer–wrongful termination. The law forbids employers from firing employees in retaliation for exercising their constitutional right to pursue civil litigation in court. This kind of termination is illegal if the employee has proof that the exercise of a constitutional right (such as filing a FLSA lawsuit) triggered the firing, unless the employer can persuade the court that there was a different, valid and independent reason that was the actual basis for the termination.
A wrongful termination lawsuit alleging that the employer conducted the firing in retaliation for filing an employment rights lawsuit can permit an employee to recover several different types of damages, and the total potentially can be much more than just your lost wages. A.Q. won her case and the received $3,000 in lost wages, $27,500 in emotional distress damages and $175,000 in punitive damages. A.Q. also received compensation for her court costs and attorneys’ fees.
This type of success can be very instructive for other employees, as well. If you discover that you have suffered an adverse action in your employment as a result of impermissible discrimination (such as gender, race, national origin, gender identification or sexual orientation), then you may be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation under the FEHA. If your employer takes additional adverse actions against you like termination, those actions may give you yet another claim in court–this one for retaliation. California law makes it illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for engaging in certain activities, including pursuing a discrimination action.
If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, the Oakland employment attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen M. Fuerch are here to help you. We have dedicated many years to helping workers to use the legal system to protect themselves. To learn more about how we can aid you, contact us through our website or call our office at (925) 463-1073 to schedule your confidential initial consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
How a Recently Signed Bill May Offer Enhanced Protections and Options for California Workers Harmed by Sexual Harassment, Oakland Personal Injury Attorney Blog, Oct. 26, 2018
What Happens When Your California Employer Forces You to Sign an Arbitration Agreement Written in a Language You Don’t Comprehend, Oakland Personal Injury Attorney Blog, Oct. 15, 2018