If your claim is for breach of contract then your remedies are typically confined to the grievance process, which culminates in arbitration. If you are alleging that an unlawful discriminatory motive such as race or religion was the basis for your termination then you can file with the DFEH or EEOC and, upon obtaining a "right to sue" letter, file a lawsuit in civil court.
This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.
If your beach of contract arises from the Collective Bargaining Agreement, you must first follow the procedures set forth in the CBA. If there is some other contract between you and your former employer, which is unlikely, you should talk to an attorney about your issues. If you believe that you have been treated in a manner which is otherwise protected by the law, for example discrimination, you should also consult with an attorney and have them analyze your issues. There are many fine attorneys on this site or you can check the following link for the California Employment Lawyers Association.
You are not a party to the collective bargaining agreement. The CBA is between the employer and the union. Only those parties can take steps to enforce it. Speak with your union immediately about filing a grievance because time limits are very short.
@MikaSpencer * * * PLEASE READ: All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and must not be taken as legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts which are impossible to gather on a public web site like Avvo. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * *
You don't enjoy rights to sue (as distinct from grievance rights under the union contract) simply because you contend that the employer's defense will be based on "pretext." Pretext is a contention that is at issue (and likely to be determined by the fact-finder) in any challenge of your termination -- by grievance or by legal claim.
Whether you have a right to bring a legal action can be a challenging judgment call. But, because you should not even contemplate taking that action without a lawyer, consult with a lawyer in the first instance about whether you have a claim that can be brought as a legal action. Act immediately -- time windows are very short.
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