What Is the Statute of Limitations for Employment Law Cases in California?
You have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against your employer. You have between one and three years to file a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) for most types of claims. There are some exceptions. Once you receive a Right to Sue Letter from the DFEH, you have one additional year to file a lawsuit against your employer in court.
Statute of Limitations is a Deadline
If your employer treated you poorly, didn’t pay you properly, or terminated your employment in an illegal manner, you have a time limit within which you must file a claim. That deadline is called a “statute of limitations.” If you don’t file an employment lawsuit within that timeline, you may forfeit your right to compensation – no matter how strong your claim is.
Time Limits to File Claims Against California Employers
The statute of limitations on your case depends on the type of claim you are asserting against your employer. In some cases, you may have to file an initial complaint with the DFEH before you file a lawsuit. This can add to the amount of time it takes to process your claim.
Act fast so you don’t lose your opportunity to file a lawsuit against your employer.
Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations
If you were wrongfully terminated from your employment, you must file a lawsuit within two years of your termination date. This might seem like a long period of time, but it can take a while to gather the necessary information and draft the necessary documents. It’s best to work with an employment lawyer who knows the law and will ensure you don’t miss an important deadline.
Harassment, Retaliation & Discrimination Deadlines
You have one year from the date you were harassed, discriminated against, or retaliated against to file an administrative complaint with the DFEH. Once you receive a Right to Sue Notice, then you have one additional year to file a discrimination, harassment, or retaliation lawsuit against your employer.
Defamation Lawsuits Against Your Employer
You have one year to file a lawsuit against your employer for defamation, which includes slander (verbal/oral) and libel (written). For example, if they lie about why you are being terminated and tarnish your reputation, then you may be able to sue them for defamation. Your damages may include ruining your reputation and negatively affecting your future employment opportunities.
Breach of Employment Contract
Employment contracts are not common for all workers; however, they can be pieced together with evidence through emails, verbal conversations, and other information. If your employer terminates you in a way that breaches an oral employment contract, you have two years to file a claim against them. However, if you have a written employment contract, you have up to four years to sue them for breach of that contract.
Failure to Pay Wages and Overtime
If your employer does not pay you properly, then you can sue them to get the money they owe you. You have three years to file a lawsuit based on unpaid wages and overtime in California.
Intentional Infliction of Emotion Distress (IIED)
Certain types of claims, including those involving employment discrimination, may lead to allegations of intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). If you are suing your employer for IIED, you have two years to file the claim in court. If you miss this deadline, you will not be able to file an IIED lawsuit against your employer in California.
Time Limits for FMLA Claims
A violation of rights given to you by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can result in significant penalties to the employer. You must file an FMLA claim within two years of the violation date. However, willful violations of FMLA have a three-year statute of limitations.
Violation of Meal and Rest Break Rights
If your employer did not give you a proper meal or rest breaks, then you can file a complaint against them as well. You have three years from the date of the missed break to file a lawsuit against your employer. This time limit applies even if you continued employment with the employer and later filed a lawsuit against them.
Certain Labor Code Penalties
In some cases, your employer may be assessed penalties for violating the California Labor Code. Claims related to the Labor Code should be filed within one year of a violation to ensure you meet the necessary deadline.
Hire an Employment Lawyer As Soon As Possible
You may think you have years to file a lawsuit, and technically you do. However, every step of the employment claims process is complex. It can take a significant amount of time to gather evidence and prove that your employer, manager, or other related persons caused you harm.
Additionally, evidence tends to disappear quickly in employment claims. Witnesses forget situations that they heard and saw. Employee records get destroyed. It’s important to preserve as much evidence as possible to support your claim.
When you hire an employment lawyer in Los Angeles, CA at Setyan Law, we will immediately begin working on your case. Our goal is to help you get the best possible outcome. Call us today at (213)-618-3655 for a consultation.