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Oakland Wrongful Termination Attorneys

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Workplace injuries give the injured employee the right to file a claim for workers’ compensation. Despite California laws which clearly lay out this right, many employers choose to retaliate against employees who do file a workers’ comp claim. While all forms of retaliation are illegal, the last course of action is naturally the most severe.

If you were terminated after filing a workers’ compensation claim, we at Pacific Workers', The Lawyers for Injured Workers want to help. Our team of retaliation attorneys​ ​​​​​​share more than 130 years of experience and believes in the just treatment of all Oakland employees. With our firm on your side, you can confidently stand up to mistreatment in the workplace.

When is a Termination “Wrongful?”

Employers have the right to fire their employees but only when their reasons for doing so don’t violate the law. In the United States workers are protected from being let go from their jobs unfairly. Many of these laws focus on preventing workplace harassment, a common cause in wrongful termination, however, there are a few other laws preventing firing in the case of a breach of contract and whistleblowing, among others. At times, employers will choose other relation tactics other than firing.

This retaliation can take place in many forms, including:

  • Demoting the employee
  • Discriminating against the employee
  • Firing the employee altogether

Let us review your case for free! Simply submit an online form and we’ll do the rest.

Understanding Wrongful Termination in California

California is an “at-will” state; that means employers in California reserve the right to fire an employee at any time, with or without notice, for nearly any reason. However, an employer cannot fire you for reasons that are discriminatory or retaliatory in nature. As a person and an employee, you have rights. If an employer violates those rights by terminating your employment, you have grounds for a wrongful termination suit.

To put it simply, you can file a wrongful termination complaint if, in firing you, your employer violated:

  • A state law
  • A federal law
  • Public policy
  • Your employment contract

In other words, if your employer violated the law in any way in firing you, that is considered wrongful termination. This means your employer cannot fire you because of your race, ethnicity, age, sex, disability, religion, marital status, or any other protected class. You also cannot be fired in retaliation for seeking workers’ compensation or if you suddenly become disabled due to a work-related injury.

Common Reasons for Wrongful Termination Lawsuits

Just as an employer cannot violate your rights in firing you, your employer also cannot fire you for exerting your rights. This means that if you are fired after filing a workers’ compensation claim, you may be able to take action against your employer.

Some of the most common reasons wrongful termination lawsuits are filed include:

  • Allegations of discrimination based on race, color, disability, age, sex/sexual identity, etc.
  • Termination after taking protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act
  • Retaliation for seeking workers’ compensation benefits
  • Retaliation for whistleblowing/reporting illegal employer activities
  • Termination after exercising the right to vote/protesting public policy
  • Employee’s refusal to take part in illegal activity
  • Retaliation after filing a complaint of workers’ law violations

Remember: you cannot file a wrongful termination lawsuit just because you were fired and you believe it was unfair. Your employer can fire you for virtually any reason except for those listed above. If you believe your rights were violated, reach out to our wrongful termination lawyers to learn more about your legal options during a confidential case evaluation.


    Thank you for being so kind and completely sympathetic to my case!

    “I started my fight against my company's workers comp and after talking to Almarie for the first time I already felt a lot of weight off my shoulders. It feels nice to have someone fighting for your rights but also keeping you in check for your own good.”

    Jazzie D. Daly City, CA
    They took care of me!

    “Bilal worked on my case and he was very professional, friendly, and kind to me. I was so nervous about my deposition and he made me feel very comfortable and less stressed about the whole situation.”

    Gabi O. Sacramento, CA
    The most down to earth team I have ever met!

    “They have strong communication and I was respected throughout the whole process. They had never given up on me!”

    Nekealla C. Tracy, CA
    I'm forever grateful & thankful to all!

    “I especially want to thank Mr. Jason Insdorf, who worked in attaining a settlement I never expected.”

    L.S. Union City, CA

Take Action with an Oakland Wrongful Termination Lawyer

Simply put, state laws prohibit employers from punishing their workers for suffering an injury on the job or filing a claim to recover compensation. Despite these laws, employers throughout California persist in doing exactly that, compounding the suffering that the injured worker must face.

It is also important to note that some employers try to create reasons for terminating injured workers. Unfair job performance reviews or unfounded criticism are often used to cover up illegal behavior, leading the employee to wonder if they deserved to be fired. Whatever the details of your case, the importance of securing legal representation cannot be overstressed.

When wrongful termination occurs, employees have the option of filing a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or filing their own lawsuit directly against the company. If you choose to file a claim with The DFEH, they will investigate your claim and act as a mediator between you and your former company, encouraging the parties to come to a mutual resolution while investigating whether the company violated the law or not.

If the mediation is not successful, and the DFEH finds that the employer did exhibit discriminatory behavior they may file a lawsuit against the employer. For either path, hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney may be crucial to your case’s success.

Is My Employer Legally Required to Hire Me Back?

Unlike some states, California does not legally require companies to rehire their injured workers when they are ready to come back to work. California does, however, have very strict anti-discrimination laws. This means that if an employer won't allow you to return to work they must not be doing so out of retaliation or discrimination.

The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Employment and Housing Act mandate that employers make accommodations for employees with disabilities. If your work injury resulted in a permanent or long-term disability your employer must make accommodations for you unless these accommodations would result in undue hardship on the company. These accommodations can include additional time off, or a change in work responsibilities.

Don't Wait to Get Help!

We refuse to let employers get away with unlawful behavior and can carefully assess your circumstances to execute the best course of action. California has a 1-2 year statute of limitations on wrongful termination depending on the circumstances. This means you have 1-2 years to file a claim or you may lose your right to compensation.

Employers found guilty of wrongful termination may face statutory penalties, be forced to compensate or reinstate the employee, and even get hit with punitive damages. Our goal at Pacific Workers', The Lawyers for Injured Workers is simple: achieve a swift and effective resolution to your case that comprehensively meets your needs.

We are eager to begin pursuing that goal on your behalf. Contact our retaliation attorneys in Oakland for a FREE consultation today.

Workers' Comp FAQ

  • Am I Eligible for Workers’ Compensation?

    In California, all employees are eligible for workers’ compensation with very few exceptions. If you are classified as an “employee” (rather than an “independent contractor”), you are eligible to receive benefits. This is true regardless of how many employees your employer has, how many hours you work, how much you make, whether you work part-time or full-time, or whether you are a seasonal worker. Additionally, undocumented workers are also eligible for workers’ compensation granted they meet all other eligibility requirements. In contrast, independent contractors and certain other workers, including some volunteers, household workers who are employed by a family member, and others, are not able to file for workers’ compensation benefits.

  • Can't I Just File for Workers' Compensation on My Own?

    Filing for workers' compensation on your own increases the chances that your claim will be denied. One small misstep can prevent you from obtaining the compensation you need for your injuries. In addition, the process is usually complex and tedious, especially for someone with no workers' compensation law experience. It is extremely advantageous that you seek reliable and experienced legal guidance for your claim.

  • What Can I Expect from the Workers' Compensation Process?

    As soon as you reach out to us for help, we will assign you a full-time case manager and attorney. An application will be filed with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) on your behalf. We will get started on your case immediately to help you receive the medical care you need. If we are unable to receive a fair settlement from the insurance company, we are ready and willing to take your case to trial. After a few months, you will most likely give a deposition. One of our highly experienced attorneys will prepare you and stand at your side the entire time. You don't even have to attend court hearings! One of our trained hearing officers or attorneys can attend on your behalf.

  • Can My Employer Tell Me to Use Sick Time or Vacation/Personal Time off (PTO) If I’m Injured at Work?

    Following a work-related injury, you may not receive workers’ compensation benefits right away or your workers’ compensation claim may be denied. You may receive a note from your doctor that you may take time off work due to your injuries, but how will you be paid if you are not actively seeking workers’ compensation benefits? Your employer may tell you to use your state-mandated/employer-provided sick time in order to continue being paid while you are out of work. Once this sick time is exhausted, your employer may tell you that the only way you can continue to be paid is if you use your vacation or PTO time. In some cases, this may actually be the only way to continue receiving wages while you are out of work and not receiving workers’ compensation benefits. For more information, check out our video with Attorney Bilal Kassem on this topic by visiting our Facebook page!

  • Can I Get Workers’ Compensation If I Was Fired?

    If you were terminated while already receiving workers’ compensation benefits, this does not necessarily affect your right to receive benefits. However, if you were terminated “for cause” (for example, if you were fired because you were caught stealing from your employer), you will not be able to continue collecting benefits. If you were not fired for cause, but were laid off due to your position being terminated or various other reasons, you may still be able to continue collecting your workers’ compensation benefits. If you believe you were terminated because you filed for workers’ compensation or because you were hurt at work, you may have grounds for a retaliation claim. Learn more, including whether you can continue receiving workers’ compensation benefits if you were laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic, see our video with Attorney Bilal Kassem on our Facebook page.

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