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The depends on the basis for the wrong termination claim.
If the basis is some form of discrimination that is made illegal by federal statute, like race discrimination, the statute of limitations is 300 days from the termination. You have to have filed an EEOC complaint by then in order to preserve the claim.
If the basis is through a contract of employment that has been breached, then the standard breach of contract statute of limitations applies, which is 6 years on a written contract (the only type of contract you can sue on for wrongful termination).
I think I was fired because I complained about the work environment being hostile. However, they disguised it as a "lay off".
When you say "hostile" what do you mean?
Do you mean that there was harassment based on race, religion, gender, age, disability or FMLA use?
One of my supervisors was constantly harrassing me and singling me out. It was nothing to to with those protected classes that you mentioned.
Then unfortunately, it is not hostile work environment and grants no legal protections from retaliation at all.
The Supreme Court has expressly stated that hostile work environment only refers to harassment and singling out based specifically on one of the protected classes I mentioned.
Any other form of singling out is generalized harassment which is not illegal in our laws at this time. Some states have considered workplace dignity laws that would make it illegal, but none have passed at this time.
Regrettably, if the harassment that you are referring to is not based on one of the illegal factors I mentioned, then it is not illegal to terminate you for complaining about it.