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How Long Do You Have To File A Lawsuit Against Your Employer In California?

Important Deadlines To Remember When Suing Your California Employer

Most legal claims have what is called a statute of limitations. It is essentially the time window that a plaintiff can sue a defendant (in this case, an employee suing their employer).

That said, there are several types of employment lawsuits against employers in California. The type of employment law violation will dictate how your claim is handled, including its deadlines.

Let's look at everything you need to know about labor law and their deadlines work, as experienced by prescreened Employment Attorneys in Los Angeles.

suing your california employer

How To File A Lawsuit Against An Employer In California

The first step to suing your employer is identifying the California employment law violations that your employer committed.

For example, if they fired you based on your protected characteristic, you can sue them for wrongful termination in California. Likewise, if your boss tried to get back at you (i.e., unjustified demotions and pay cuts) for exercising your rights (such as suing your boss), you can sue them for retaliation.

The next step is to file a report with the DFEH (Department of Fair Employment and Housing). Afterward, the agency decides whether to investigate the claim themselves or give you the "right to sue." Then, you should contact a California Employment Lawyer to ensure a successful claim.

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How Long Can A Lawsuit Stay Open For Filing In California?

Missing the statute of limitations means missing your chance of holding your employer responsible for violating your employment rights.

Here are the deadlines you and your Los Angeles Employment Attorney will need to meet:

1. Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation (Under FEHA)

Within a year of the improper conduct, claims must be submitted to DFEH. In addition, the claimant has one year to file a civil court FEHA lawsuit after the DFEH issues a Right to Sue Notice.

2. Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy

You have two years to sue for wrongful termination in violation of public policy in California.

3. Intentional Causing of Emotional Distress

In court, claims must be made within two years of the wrongdoing.

4. Breach of Contract

The lawsuit should be filed within four years of the breach if the contract is written. If it's an oral contract, the claim must be filed within two years if it was made orally.

5. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Legal employment law action must be filed within two years for FMLA violations.

6. Retaliation Under California Family Rights Act

When the DFEH issues a "right-to-sue" letter, a civil action under the FEHA for retaliation must be filed within a year of that date.

7. Unpaid Wages and Overtime

Typically, claims must be filed three years after the date you should have received your unpaid wage.

8. Missed Meal and Rest Periods

Cal. Labor Code 226.7 states that claims for violations of missed meal and rest breaks must be made within three years.

9. Penalties for Waiting Time

A claim must be made under Labor Code section 203 within three years of termination.

10. Violations of Wage Statements

For itemized wage statement requirements violations, the claim must be filed within a year.

11. Government Tort Claims in California

Specific claims must be made to the government agency first before being brought in court against the State of California or other government agencies. Usually, the government agency must receive such claims within six months.

How Much Can You Get For Suing Your Employer In California?

Since there are various employment claims, the total damages can change from case to case. In general, however, awarded damages are calculated based on the economic and non-economic losses suffered by the plaintiff.

Economic damages pertain to monetary damages, including lost wages, benefits, etc. On the other hand, non-economic damages are "intangible" losses like emotional distress. Los Angeles Employment Lawyers will calculate this for clients by referring to employee documents and other expenses caused by the violation of the employee's rights.

For particularly egregious cases that caused a lot of harm or were particularly malicious, the judge may award punitive damages. This is often a way to punish or "make an example" of an employer, deterring others from doing the same thing. However, punitive damages are rarely given compared to the first two.

How Long Does An Employment Lawsuit Take In Los Angeles?

Employment claims can take several months to two years. The more complex or egregious the case, the longer it will take for courts to decide.

That said, not all employment claims have to be taken to court. If you have a strong case with enough evidence, you and your Los Angeles Employment Attorney can compel your (former) employer to agree to an out-of-court settlement.

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