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How to prove wrongful termination/retaliation/discrimination case? Do I have a case?

Chula Vista, CA |

I was terminated after filing 4 harassment/conspiracy/retaliation/discrimination complaints against my manager. He then flew out to terminate me but never stated why I was being terminated. (I am NOT at will) they cancelled my health benefits a month before I was terminated without notice. I am the only Hispanic female in my department and at that level of management. I had been a rep for 5 years before being recruited by this company & employed for about a year (good performance) before the new manager was hired. We interacted only 3 times while he was in this position.

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Attorney answers 3


Your question is "do I have a case?" No one can answer that question here based on the facts provided. However, I can give you an idea of what the law in this area is. You would be best served to find an employment law attorney, let him or her know all the facts, and then you can get a real answer to your question.

The law does provide that it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against someone who has engaged in protected conduct, like the filing of complaints about certain forms of workplace harassment, retaliation and discrimination.

Not all harassment and retaliation are actionable. Harassment has to be harassment based on your membership in a protected class of people, or your participation in certain forms of protected conduct (like filing a workers comp claim, certain types of whistleblowing, and certain types of internal complaints related to protected issues). The same is true as to retaliation.

If the harassment, retaliation and discrimination you suffered fall within the legally unlawful categories, and you were terminated for filing the complaints, you would likely have a valid claim against your company for all three reasons. The company will likely be strictly liable for the acts of the supervisor, and the supervisor may face individual liability for the harassment.

Your best move is to find a good employment lawyer and speak to them soon. There are deadlines for the filing of these claims. You might be losing a day of damages for every day you delay in finding an attorney and filing your claims. Move quickly.

I wish you the best of luck.

Pedersen Heck McQueen, APLC is an employee rights law firm assisting employees in all Southern California counties.

This answer should not be construed to create any attorney-client relationship. Such a relationship can be formed only through the mutual execution of an attorney-client agreement. The answer given is based on the extremely limited facts provided and the proper course of action might change significantly with the introduction of other facts. All who read this answer should not rely on the answer to govern their conduct. Please seek the advice of competent counsel after disclosing all facts to that attorney. This answer is intended for California residents only. The answering party is only licensed to practice in the State of California.


I agree with Mr. Pedersen. You need to find a plaintiff-side employment lawyer to help you determine whether you have a claim. The statute of limitations is running. Your lawyer will also help you determine what evidence is needed to prove your claim. Much, however, will depend on the reason(s) your employer gave for discharging you.

Note that if you wish to sue under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, you must first file a complaint with either the Department of Fair Housing and Employment or the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission. You must then obtain what is called a "right to sue" letter. You can do this yourself through the DFEH website (assuming you wish to go through the DFEH), or a lawyer can help you. It is critical that you follow these steps, however, or you will not be able to bring a suit.


Often times, large companies will work very carefully to restructure departments and cover their tracks so that they can termination employees who may pose a legal threat in the future. No one will be able to answer this question on AVVO, you will need to consult with an attorney about the termination.

Nothing in my answer is to be construed as legal advice in any way. Any legal advice should be obtained, in person, from a licensed attorney in your own state, where an attorney-client relationship may be established to protect the communication.

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