My employer is trying to terminate me. This has been going on for a year in August. Can I sue for mental and emotional distress?
In an "at will" employment state like California you have no rights to guaranteed employment. You will have great difficulty finding a lawyer to handle this on a percentage basis. No lawyer will handle this "pro bono"..
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
Most attorneys will provide you with a free initial consultation. In addition, most attorneys who decide to represent you in this type of case will agree to do so on a contingency basis. Use Avvo to locate a local attorney in your area who practices employment law. After an initial consultation the attorney should be in a better position to evaluate your case, the probability of success and what theories of recovery should be pursued.
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It would be a good idea to examine all your options. Do you belong to a union? Part of a union's responsibilities is to represent workers in cases like this. Do you have an employment contract with your employer? If so, then your employment contract will control.
You have not said why you believe you deserve mental and emotional distress. If it is because your employer wants to terminate your employment, that probably won't qualify.
If you are an at-will employee without union representation, then your employer can release you from employment for no reason at all -- so long as it is not for an illegal reason like discrimination on the basis of race, age (40+), disability (reasonable accommodation is required), etc. If your employer just doesn't like you, that doesn't necessarily constitute discrimination.
Lawsuits have three principal costs: the attorneys' fees and costs, the investment in time that you spend in working the case, and, perhaps the most important, the emotions that you invest. They last two are often the most demanding -- and lawyers cannot do much to control those costs. Also, one needs to keep in mind the outcome: what is the definition of success? Do you want to go back to work there? If you do, how would that happen? If you were to keep your job there, nobody is going to pretend that all the unpleasantness hasn't happened. You have to have a long-term strategy, and for many employers, someone who has sued a former employer is much less likely to find new employment.
We all know that this is a lousy job market. Still, you need to look at all the factors and your future. I wish you luck.
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Divorce / Separation Lawyer
You really should have no problem finding an attorney that will accept an employment case on a contingent fee basis provided you have a good case. I would recommend that you find someone that specializes in doing employment law with a significant level of experience. I would suggest you contact Pam Teren, Esq. in Redondo Beach. I am familiar with her excellent results in the past.
I hope this is helpful.
John N. Kitta
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