California Employment Law

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I was terminated 1 year ago. For what they wrote..."Misconduct"...after

27 years of exceptional service...
I was terminated 1 year ago. For what they wrote..."Misconduct"...after 27 years of exceptional service. My boss knew of what I did. and did nothing until 8 months after I told him. I never was warned or disciplined for what I did...I am an at will employee. This is a major utility company..in Ca. I am 52 years old...can I get a lwyer and sue for what I believe was unjustified on why my boss terminated me?....I asked to have HR and Director present..so I can tell them my story.
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Answered in 19 minutes by:
3/6/2013
Brandon, Esq.
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,953
Experience: Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
Verified

Employment-LawExpert :

Hello and thank you for your question today

Employment-LawExpert :

Are you online with me?

Customer:

Yes

Employment-LawExpert :

Welcome to the chat

Customer:

Thanks...just hoping for some answers :)

Employment-LawExpert :

First, let me say that I am terribly sorry to hear that you are in this situation. It is a shame when an employer makes a decision without legitimacy, and one that is frankly wrong. However, that does not necessarily make that decision illegal.

Employment-LawExpert :

California is an at will employment state. This means that your employer is allowed to terminate your employment for any reason that does not violate your civil rights or is in breach of contract.

Customer:

Been doing lots of reading on this

Customer:

Breach....what about a displine step?

Employment-LawExpert :

Thus, if you are a union employee, or if you have an employment contract that says you must be fired for cause, then you might have legal recourse against them for terminating you. Additionally, if you believe the reason that you were terminated could be related to a protected category, such as your age (40 or older), gender, race, religion, genetic information, pregnancy, national origin, creed, or disability then the termination would be deemed wrongful and you would have a cause of action.

Employment-LawExpert :

A discipline step would be a good way to show that you were fired for an alternate reason such as your age

Employment-LawExpert :

Or I should say a lackereof

Employment-LawExpert :

They used the term "Misconduct" because they wanted to prevent you from receiving unemployment benefits.

Customer:

But, I never had chance to speak with human resources....or anyone...because i told my boss what i did..it took about 1 year after incidnet happend

Employment-LawExpert :

Do you believe the real reason you were terminated could be related to your age?

Customer:

correct..i could not receive them

Customer:

well..they did put a younger employee to take over my supervision job.

Employment-LawExpert :

Were you terminated less than one year ago, or more than one year ago. The timing makes a big difference

Customer:

also...my boss retired....heard that he was maybe pushed out..becuase of how he handled my termination

Customer:

it was feb 23rd 2012..yea, i am worried about that...but read that some cases can be longer

Employment-LawExpert :

The cases where it is longer usually involves that you were incapacitated in some way. Basically, the rule is, if you do not have the capacity to contract, the statute may be stayed during that period of time

Employment-LawExpert :

Otherwise, they are very strict about the filing deadlines

Employment-LawExpert :

I take it you never filed a claim with the EEOC or the DFEH

Employment-LawExpert :

?

Employment-LawExpert :

or made a complaint?

Employment-LawExpert :

All you needed to have done was make an appointment

Customer:

I was told by a lawyer..whom took 350..and told me he was going to write a letter to company..but never did...i was hoping that if I can find a lawyer...who is not afraid..and someone can hear my story..that perhaps my 27 years of superb service would amount to something...

Employment-LawExpert :

Did that lawyer file a complaint with the DFEH or the EEOC? If not, you may have a legal malpractice claim against that individual if they did not inform you of the timeliness required unless they specifically mention something in their retainer to you

Customer:

so, i waited, and tried to find job...everyone in PGE says that they handled my situation wrong...just feel like i was a scapegoat

Customer:

not that i am aware of..i would have to look for his email to see if retainer

Employment-LawExpert :

If your statute of limitations hasn't run, then the Supreme Court has made it significantly easier for the elderly client of a California labor attorney to prove age discrimination. Disparate treatment may be proved by circumstantial evidence. Where an employer has already hired significantly younger people to replace a person over 40 that they have fired, this evidence may be persuasive.

Customer:

he only told me that he could not find enough to take suit...and he was going to send letter

Employment-LawExpert :

In this case, all he had to do was file a complaint with the DFEH. They would have done a full investigation of the issue. Because he got involved, he may have opened himself up to litigation for failure to inform you of the statute of limitations in this situation. Especially, if he actually wrote the letter.

Customer:

so..is it worth my time...I have lots of it..to at least pursue a labor lawyer....and try to go after?...i always received bonuses..and great performance reviews...i did not get any severance..only my 401k and still get retirement..but not till i am 58

Employment-LawExpert :

The problem with the labor lawyer is that you have already passed the 300 day statute of limitations to file your claim.

Customer:

I never saw a letter...or ever spoke with him...

Employment-LawExpert :

At this point, since you have free time, I would consider calling malpractice attorneys who also specialize in employment law

Employment-LawExpert :

There are many attorneys who would do this, however, the terms of service do not let us point you to any one lawyer in particular. That being said, if you decide to hire an attorney, a great resource is www.Martindale.com. This is a nationwide directory that is useful in finding highly qualified legal specialists in various fields of law. The lawyers in Martindale are not selected because they paid to be included, but rather because they have been rated by other attorneys as qualified experts in their field. Consider consulting with two or three different attorneys prior to selecting the one you feel most comfortable with.

Employment-LawExpert :

If an attorney requires a consultation fee, consider hanging up and calling the next attorney on the list

Employment-LawExpert :

Most attorneys would take this case on a contingency fee basis which means that you would pay nothing out of pocket

Employment-LawExpert :

But it will greatly depend on what was promised to you, what he did, and what his retainer to you stated

Customer:

You mean..maybe going after the lawyer i paid 350 for a letter that was not sent??

Employment-LawExpert :

Correct. Since the infringing activity was over a year ago, you will have a very difficult time proving your case, even if all of the facts were on your side

Employment-LawExpert :

Since all he had to do was start the complaint process, you would have had a much longer time to actually bring a lawsuit.

Customer:

He only "supposingly" looked thru my emails and documents i left....i came back about 2 weeks later to pick up papers...he said he could not help...but he was going to send letter to "scare: pge and in hopes they would reconsider...i never heard a word

Employment-LawExpert :

There is definitely an argument that the attorney should have informed you about filing a claim with the DFEH or the EEOC

Employment-LawExpert :

If he was going to "scare" them he would have filed a formal complaint with the EEOC or DFEH since all it actually takes to get it started is a phone call.

Employment-LawExpert :

This would have extended your statute of limitations

Customer:

so..look thru a "mal-practise lawyers...and look for this lawyers emails...to see what it reads...and go after him

Employment-LawExpert :

Go to the Martindale website, or other lawyer referral site, and look for a "Malpractice Employment" attorney. This unfortunately will be your best bet since the statute of limitations for the DLSE, the EEOC, and the DFEH have all run, which are all requirements in order to be able to file a lawsuit in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Employment-LawExpert :

To go after the company, even if you have an amazing case with perfect proof, would unfortunately be thrown out in a motion for summary judgment.

Customer:

I will go thru...and if he states he was going to do what i paid the 350 for...i will.

Customer:

last thing....if, he did not do what he stated...what could i sue for?....my job?.....becuase he did not file...or tell me about the 300days...i honestly believe that i could have gotten my job back, or compensated for what i lost over the next 6 years prior to my retirement....i dont want to sound sue happy...just know what happened was wrong..the whole process

Employment-LawExpert :

To win a legal malpractice lawsuit, you need to show that 1) the lawyer did something below the standard of care and 2) you would have prevailed on your case. If you can prove these things, then that lawyer is required to place you back into a place you would have been had you won against the employer. While they can't give you your job back, they can compensate you financially for all of your lost wages, etc.

Customer:

i will pursue....thanks...i will keep my fingers crossed..thanks for all your advise.

Employment-LawExpert :

Not a problem. Glad I could get you pointed in the right direction. Have I fully answered your question this evening?

Customer:

Yes....i just got to hope for the best.

Employment-LawExpert :

My thoughts are definitely with you, and I hope that you are able to find enough evidence to make up for at least some of what you have had to go through. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further. If you do not require any further assistance, I would be most grateful if you would remember to provide my service a positive rating, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you.

Customer:

I will...excellant :)

Employment-LawExpert :

Have a wonderful rest of your evening.

Customer:

Have a good evening.

Brandon, Esq.
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,953
Experience: Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.
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Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 1,953
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Experience: Has received a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his outstanding legal service.

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