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Can I sue my former employer 2 years after a sexual harrassment complaint?

Sunnyvale, CA |

After complaining to my employer about a co-worker's unwanted advances and touching, she responded, "Everyone in the office knows he likes you, and probably just needs to talk to someone since he isn't comfortable talking to anyone else. He's a married man and won't go beyond that." I was so shocked by her answer, I started shaking uncontrollably. A week later, I had a mental breakdown & checked in a hospital program for 6-weeks. While in the hospital, my employer terminated me.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Best answer

    While you have received some good answers, they do not address your question. If you were harassed two years ago and terminated more than one year ago and have not filed a claim in court, with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing or with the EEOC, you may have blown your statute of limitations period. Consult with an attorney to make sure and do not delay.


  2. Hello,

    It's likely that you have a legitimate wrongful termination claim. However more facts are necessary to determine that, especially what the reason given by your employer for termination is.

    You should discuss this with an experienced employment attorney in your area.

    Thanks,

    Arkady Itkin
    San Francisco & San Jose Employment Lawyer


  3. There are several things going on here in addition to a potential claim for sexual harassment. You could have a possible claim for illegal retaliation and potentially a FMLA violation.

    You should contact a local employment attorney immediately. Given that these events occurred two years ago, the statutes of limitation could be an issue. So, contact a local employment attorney right now.

    Good luck.

    THESE COMMENTS SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED LEGAL ADVICE. Comments made on websites such as Avvo.com are provided for information purposes only, and you should not base a decision to act or refrain from acting based upon this answer.


  4. It sounds like a lot was going on here and there needs to be a discussion in greater detail regarding the particular facts in your case. Without more information it is not possible to give an opinion about this. The best advice would be to set an appointment with an attorney who specializes in employment law and sexual harassment cases. Then after a thorough review of all of the facts, they can give you an opinion as to whether you have a viable claim, and what procedural steps you should take. Many attorneys handle these cases on a contingency percentage fee, taking a percentage of the recovery. In contingency fee arrangements, there are no hourly fees. In some states attorneys do not charge anything for an initial appointment to discuss your case but in others there is a reasonable fee charged to compensate the attorney for their time and advice. I would suggest that you begin your search for an attorney on this Avvo website. There is a tab "Find A Lawyer" on the home page of Avvo at www.avvo.com that will help you find a lawyer in this practice area in your locale. Good luck!

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  5. You may have claims for: 1) sexual harassment; 2) retaliation for making a complaint of sexual harassment; 3) disability discrimination; 4) retaliation for taking a protected medical leave; and 5) wrongful termination in violation of public policy based on claims 2, 3 and 4. Unfortunately, the longest statute of limitations period on any of these claims is the two year statute applicable to a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Barton v. New Motor Mfg., Inc. (1996) 43 Cal. App.4th 1200. The statute would have started to run on the date of your termination. Romano v. Rockwell Int'l Corp. (1996) 14 Cal.4th 479. You might be able to add a few weeks on to that based on the time you were in the hospital on the theory that the statute was tolled because you were essentially incapacitated.

    Although you are clearly too late to file a claim with the EEOC or the DFEH, if are within the two year window you can still assert wrongful termination in violation of public policy claims. In short, although it may be too late already, you need to consult with an employment attorney immediately to determine whether you still have claims that are not time-barred.