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Home » Blog » Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations California (2024)

Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations California (2024)

Posted on November 15, 2022 | By Omid Nosrati | Wrongful Termination

Do you believe you were wrongfully fired? Whether it was a suspected discrimination firing, a retaliation firing, or a violation of public policy, being wrongfully terminated is not only frustrating to deal with but also illegal for an employer to do. And even if your employment was terminated years ago, you may still have legal actions you can take today for compensation. You will need to check the statute of limitations for wrongful termination in California to see if you still qualify.

If you believe you have a wrongful termination claim, Nosratilaw, A Professional Law Corporation is ready to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve. While there is a statute of limitations on wrongful termination, you might still have a case.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations on any case is the period of time over which an individual can file a claim regarding a specific offense or crime. The amount of time varies depending on the crime that has been committed. However, it will generally start when the victim of someone else’s illegal or wrongful conduct has been hurt in some way. It can also start when it is later discovered that the actions taken by the perpetrator caused harm that went unnoticed.

The statute of limitations typically has an expiration date after which a victim loses their ability to invoke their legal rights in a civil or criminal claim. If the victim files a claim after the statute of limitations has expired, the defendant can often have the case dismissed without facing serious consequences.

The reason the statute of limitations exists is to encourage victims to invoke their rights quickly and have the judicial system process the wrongdoing or crime as soon as possible. This both ensures that any evidence or memories of an incident will be fresher for the case while also preventing the defendant’s ability to repose.

How Do I Know If I Was Wrongfully Terminated?

There are a number of ways you can be wrongfully terminated in California.

  • Retaliation: This occurs when an employer fires an employee for filing a complaint against their company. This is often used to cover up issues within the company.
  • Discrimination: This is when an employer fires an employee over race, religious beliefs, disability, ethnicity, or even pregnancy.
  • Violation of Public Policy: This occurs when a worker is fired for reasons that society recognizes as illegitimate grounds for termination, such as taking time off work to vote, serve on a jury, or alerting the public to an injustice happening in the workplace.
  • Constructive Terminations: While there is no firing that takes place here, this happens when the employer makes an inhospitable workplace for an employee they want to fire but don’t have grounds to terminate them. This is also illegal.

Laws Concerning Wrongful Termination

In California, the statute of limitations is determined by the type of wrongful termination itself, but typically it will be between two and four years. It is important when filing to consult a wrongful termination lawyer to assist with managing the timeframe. There are several common wrongful termination cases in California, and each has its own statute of limitations.

  • Violation of Public Policy: This is when an employee is fired for things like refusing to break the law, performing a legal obligation, or exercising their legal rights. This statute of limitations covers two years.
  • FEHA Retaliation: FEHA covers most wrongful termination claims in California, covering workers’ rights to avoid retaliation and file complaints against their employers, as well as harassment or discrimination termination claims. This has implications under both federal and California law, and it is also protected under California law through the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which receives and investigates all wrongful termination claims. Before submitting, workers will have three years from the date of their termination to file an administrative complaint with the DFEH. Once they receive their right to claim from the state, they have one additional year to file the claim.
  • Breach of Implied Contract: This is when an employer terminates a worker’s position despite having an implied contract for continuing employment. This tends to be rarer in California because most workers in the state are considered at-will employees. Regardless, the statute of limitations is two years.
  • Other potential wrongful terminations: California’s WARN Act covers any major plant closures and mass layoffs and has a statute of limitations of three years to file a wrongful termination claim. California also has the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which specifically protects whistleblowers from retaliation and also has a three-year statute of limitations.


Q: Is There a General Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Termination in California?

A: This can vary depending on federal regulations, but most California-based wrongful termination laws have a statute of limitations for up to three years, though this can vary slightly. A FEHA claim has a three-year statute of limitations, but one can receive an extra year to file the claim in court, as you have three years to file the claim with the FEHA first.

Q: What Qualifies as Wrongful Termination in California?

A: There are numerous qualifying factors for varying wrongful terminations. Any firing based on discrimination based on a protected characteristic, or that infringes on your personal rights, is considered a wrongful termination. If you are fired because you fulfilled your obligations to keep the public safe, that is also a case of wrongful termination.

Q: What Is the Time Limit for Claiming Wrongful Dismissal?

A: While it varies based on the type of wrongful dismissal, typically the range of time to file a claim is two to four years. It is best to file your claim as soon as the wrongful termination happens. Consulting with a wrongful termination attorney can assist you in gathering evidence and building your case while keeping the statute of limitations in mind.

Q: What Is the Average Wrongful Termination Settlement in California?

A: While the resulting settlement can vary based on the legal team and other factors at play, the average settlement is around $70,000. An experienced attorney can help determine the value of your claim based on the facts and evidence available. It is best to keep records of any evidence that can help build your case to maximize your settlement.

Contact Nosratilaw, A Professional Law Corporation

If you are facing wrongful termination, you are not alone. Our firm is here to help you navigate this sensitive and hurtful situation and develop a case that accurately represents what happened to you. You can trust us to listen and provide compassionate, reliable legal advice. Contact Nosratilaw, A Professional Law Corporation today to find out how we can help you with your wrongful termination.

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About the Author
Omid Nosrati

Mr. Nosrati been selected as one of the Top 100 Labor and Employment lawyers in the State of California for 2016, 2017, and 2018 by The American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA). He has a “Superb” (10 out of 10) rating on Avvo and a 4.9 out of 5.0 Peer Rating from other lawyers on Martindale Hubbell. Omid Nosrati is also a member of the respected California Employment Lawyers Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association, and Santa Monica Bar Association. He is a firm believer in education, loves to read about technology trends in the legal field and leverages his firm’s technological strengths to benefit each of his firm’s clients.