Can be fired if I fill a discrimination case with the EEOC?

I reside in California. I have been discriminated against for over a year. I have been through the chain of command at my company to get help with this situation to no avail. My only options left are to quit and/or to sue. I cannot afford to quit. If I file a case with the EEOC, will my employer be allowed to fire me? I work for a very large company.

Cathedral City, CA -

Attorney Answers (7)

Afshin Mozaffari

Afshin Mozaffari

Employment / Labor Attorney - Santa Monica, CA
Answered

Under the California Labor Code section 1102.5, "An employer may not retaliate against an employee for disclosing information to a government or law enforcement agency, where the employee has reasonable cause to believe that the information discloses a violation of state or federal statute, or a violation or noncompliance with a state or federal rule or regulation." If you reasonably believe that you were subjected to unlawful discrimination, the your employer would be in violation of the law if it terminates your employment in retaliation for your complaint to EEOC or California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing ("DFEH").

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your... more
Todd Friedman

Todd Friedman

Employment / Labor Attorney - Beverly Hills, CA
Answered

No you can't be fired. "If you complain about discrimination on the job, either to your employer or to DFEH or the federal government’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or if you were involved in the investigation of a discrimination complaint, your employer cannot retaliate against you by punishing you by changing the terms or conditions of your job." http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/equalrights101_faq.htm

Please feel free to contact my office if you need further help with you case

James Carl Eschen III

James Carl Eschen III

Employment / Labor Attorney - Santa Cruz, CA
Answered

The law prohibits your attorney from retaliating against you for filing an EEOC complaint. Retaliation means terminating, harassing, demoting, refusing to promote, or taking some other definitive action.

The law does not prohibit your employer from acting coolly towards people who file EEOC complaints. Don't expect your supervisor to give you tickets to Dodger games.

David Vincent Hiden

David Vincent Hiden

Workers' Compensation Lawyer - San Diego, CA
Answered

Legally, they cannot fire you or retaliate against you for filing such a claim. If they fire you, you can collect unemployment and sue for that type of claim. I would document everything and talk to an attorney immediately.

Legal disclaimer: Please be advised that the advice provided does not create any attorney/client relationship;... more
Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall

Administrative Law Lawyer - Pasadena, CA
Answered

If fact you will probably will be let go at some point and on some premise.

Nothing prevents the employer from terminating the employee, but the law will enable a claim against the employer by the employee if the basis for the termination is the employee's complaint of discrimination.

Some employers will not terminate the complaining employee because they don't want to get sued, or to make the current case stronger. Other employees will terminate the employee anyway, often in the belief that the employee poses a threat of sabotage to operations because of polarized feelings of mistrust and resentment that underlie the lawsuit. These employers reason that the employee is already suing, might as well get rid of the employee since the worst that can happen -- a lawsuit -- has already happened.

My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice.... more
Marilynn Mika Spencer

Marilynn Mika Spencer

Employment / Labor Attorney - San Diego, CA
Answered

I'm sure that after reading the six previous answers, you now understand that the law prohibits an employer from retaliating against an employee who files a charge of discrimination with the EEOC or the similar California agency, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Most attorneys, probably all attorneys, understand that while the EEOC does a better job at investigation, there are many more benefits to filing under California law.

Many people misunderstand the meaning of employment discrimination. “Discrimination” does not mean an employer has to be fair, respectful or has to make good decisions. Workplace discrimination means the employer treats one person or group differently from others who are not in the same group, but are similarly situated.

The only workplace discrimination that is illegal is discrimination that is against public policy. Public policy refers only to things that are specifically prohibited by a statute (law) enacted by the legislature, or prohibited by a regulation promulgated (established) by a government agency. Public policy protects people in specific groups, which include sex, race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age (40 years and older), religion, marital status, pregnancy and genetic information. Sexual harassment is considered a form of sex discrimination.

Public policy also protects people who blow the whistle on a matter of public concern, complain about improper wage and hour practices, or who exercise voting rights, family leave rights, jury duty rights, domestic violence rights, and a few more rights protected by statute.

An employer cannot refuse to hire, refuse to promote, change terms of employment or fire an employee if the reason for the change is against the law (against public policy). For example, an employer cannot increase your workload because of your race, sex, national origin, religion, etc. or because you blew the whistle on safety violations

There are various ways to enforce these rights, depending on the particular public policy involved.

Please look at my guide to unlawful discrimination: http://www.avvo.com/pages/show?category_id=6&pe... which should help you understand lawful and unlawful discrimination, how to enforce your rights, and time limits. Certainly, read this guide BEFORE you decide what action to take. And much, much better than reading the guide and acting would be to read the guide and then consult with one or more experienced employment law attorneys with whom you can discuss the details of your situation. After you have more information, you will be better situated to make decisions on what to do.

As has been pointed out, some employers retaliate. So even if your employer violated the law, there may be many reasons not to do anything about it. Taking action could result in the loss of your job due to employer retaliation. While it is illegal to retaliate against an employee who makes a good faith complaint about illegal circumstances, all the law does is provide a remedy after the fact; the law cannot prevent your employer from taking retaliatory action in the first place. You may find yourself out of a job in this terrible economy and unable to find a replacement. No law suit, no matter how successful, can ever give you back the lost time and lost peace of mind that are taken from you during any litigation.

Employment law is complicated and fact-specific. You may wish to consult with an experienced plaintiffs employment lawyer. To find a plaintiffs employment attorney in California, please go to the web site of the California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA). CELA is the largest and most influential bar association in the state for attorneys who represent working people. The web site is www.cela.org. Click on "Find a CELA Member" and you can search by location and practice area. Many CELA attorneys represent clients throughout the state.

I hope you can resolve your situation and wish you the best.

*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your... more
Josh Michael Friedman

Josh Michael Friedman

Employment / Labor Attorney - Chicago, IL
Answered

I am not a California lawyer, so this post is not legal; advice but simply general information. Legally, a company may not fire you for filing a claim with the EEOC, That would be retaliation--if you can prove it. That doesn't mean that the company won't go ahead and fire you anyway. And understand that just because you file a claim, that does not mean the company can't touch you. If they fire you based on other grounds, that could be a defense to a retaliation claim. I strongly urge you to contact a local employment lawyer ASAP!

This answer is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied on as legal advice. You should... more

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