supervisor 2 departments 20 employees for 4 years. I have been in this professional field for 34 years. Age 60 never fired,arrested or in hand cuffs. Filed registered letters to Labor,air quality, storm water pollution,pesticide state and local agencies.
All that can be said, based on the limited information provided is that if the motivating reason for your termination was because you filed a good faith complaint with regulatory agencies, pertaining to your employer, you may have the basis for a wrongful termination case. Your attorney must have explained this to you.
Is your case strong enough to warrant a lawsuit? No one on Avvo can tell you that. You will need to meet with attorneys who handle these kind of cases for legal opinions about your case and then make a decision which course of action you consider to be in your best interest. There are many employment law attorneys on Avvo. Use the "Find a Lawyer" function to research attorneys in your area who you think may be able to help you. Or go to the website for the California Employment Lawyers Association at www.cela.org and search for CELA members in your area.
You may have a viable whistleblower claim as well as a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
Whistleblowers are employees who refuse to violate the law, or who report wrongdoing that harms the public or has the potential to harm the public. The wrongdoer can be a private employer, a private entity, a federal, state or local government, or another employee. Usually, but not always, the wrongdoing benefits the person or entity that engages in the wrongdoing. Harm to the public may be caused by inflated prices, dangerous products, environmental harm, and more.
Whistleblowers are protected by law. The purpose of whistleblower protection laws is to allow employees to report, stop or testify about this kind of wrongdoing, as a benefit to the public. Note that complaints about wrongdoing that only harm the employer itself are not protected by whistleblowing laws. Many whistleblower laws have a very short time period in which to file a claim. Please see my Avvo guide to whistleblowers for more information about whistleblowing: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/whistleblo....
When people talk about “wrongful termination,” they are really talking about wrongful termination in violation of public policy. For a termination to be “wrongful,” it must violate a 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. An employer cannot change terms of employment or fire you if the reason for the change is against the law. For example, an employer cannot increase your workload because of your race, sex, national origin, religion, etc., because you blew the whistle on safety violations, because sat for jury duty, or for any other reason that the law protects.
One of the most widely-known areas of public policy includes statutes prohibiting discrimination against people in specific protected groups, which include sex, race, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age (40 years and older), religion, marital status and pregnancy.
In this context, “discrimination” means to treat differently from others who are not in the same protected group, but are similarly situated. “Discrimination” does not mean an employer has to be fair, or has to make good decisions.
In California, a person complaining of discrimination must file a claim with an administrative agency before he or she can file a lawsuit. The person can file a claim with either the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing within on year of the discriminatory act, or with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 300 days of the discriminatory act.
As mentioned above, 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 statutes. There are various ways to enforce these rights.
If you believe you have been fired or retaliated against in violation of public policy, I urge you to consult with one or more experienced employment law attorneys. 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, and you can search for attorneys 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.
You have received great responses from my colleagues. All I can add is that you should meet with a few attorneys to discuss your case, and if they agree you have a case, hire the one you feel most comfortable with to handle your case. Most attorneys, including myself, offer free consultations for cases like this. So you should feel free to meet with them and see what they say. Nobody can give you specific advice based on the limited facts you have provided here.
Michel & Associates, PC
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