Can I Sue My Employer?

Posted on: January 16, 2019

Harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination are all grounds for a lawsuit. Filing for one is the best course of action even if your employer is the party at fault regarding the scenarios mentioned above. However, certain factors are needed to be met for these lawsuits to push through and won.

When Can You Sue Your Employer?

Although it may appear as if your employer is untouchable, a number of employment or labor laws are enforced such as the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to mediate the relationship between an employee and an employer. In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also protects employees based on numerous factors. Under these laws, lawsuits can be filed against employers if employees feel like they’ve been discriminated, harassed, wrongfully terminated, or have been injured in the workplace due to an employer’s negligence.

Discrimination

According to existing federal and California laws, discrimination has no place in the workplace. Your employer may be eligible for suit on the grounds of discrimination and unfair treatment if he or she continues to be negligent and foster an unfair, discriminatory workplace environment. On a federal level, with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as under California laws with the FEHA, employers are forbidden from discriminating against employees on the basis of the following:

  1. Age
  2. Sex
  3. Race
  4. Religion
  5. Ethnicity
  6. Skin color
  7. Genetic Information
  8. National origin
  9. Mental and Physical Disabilities
  10. Pregnancy and Parenthood

Examples of these include when employers disrupt or deny certain workers compensation, employment opportunities, benefits, leaves, company facilities, or promotions based on one or more of the factors mentioned above.

Harassment

Harassment is a form of discrimination that generally involves a continuous pattern or one serious demonstration of behavior in the workplace that causes an employee to experience and claim emotional distress. This may include jokes, insults, put-downs, intimidation, being showed offensive objects, and touching. In California, the legal form of harassment encompasses two types of behavior:

“Quid Pro Quo” Sexual Harassment

Enforced by the FEHA, a quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when a higher-up or a supervisor suggests that an employee must carry out a sexual favor to gain benefits, advantage, or to avoid negative consequences at work.

Hostile Work Environment Harassment

Also enforced by the FEHA, this other type of employment harassment involves inappropriate behavior targeting an employee’s sex, race, religion, disability, among others, consequently creating either an abusive and tenuous work atmosphere. This type of harassment may also be sexual harassment-related and may also be carried out by non-supervisors.

Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination occurs when an employer terminates an employee from work but in doing so has breached the employee’s contract of employment or has broken a rule or a statutory provision in employment law. Also enforced by federal and California laws, forms of wrongful termination include being terminated due to the following causes:

  1. Discrimination
  2. Retaliation
  3. An employee’s unwillingness to commit an illegal act
  4. An employee’s willingness to report an illegal act (whistleblowing)
  5. An employer’s failure to follow the company’s termination procedures

Workplace Injury

A workplace injury takes place when an injury or illness is sustained or aggravated directly due to the job or the work environment. Typically, workers’ injuries are covered by compensation laws that cover monetary and medical expenses in all 50 states. However, these compensations covered by the law also means that a lawsuit cannot be filed against an employer. To file a lawsuit against your employer on the grounds of workplace injury and negligence, your scenario must either be one of the following:

Employer Has Inadequate Workers’ Compensation Insurance

In all states excluding Texas, employers are required to have the proper workers’ compensation insurance in place for their employees. Having inadequate workers’ compensation insurance or none at all is grounds for a lawsuit against your employer.

Employer Has Injured You Intentionally

Scenarios like this mean that your employer has executed a type of action to deliberately harm you such as a punch to the face or an aggressive shove on the back. These acts should also be always intentional and with malicious intent.

How to Sue Your Employer

Filing a lawsuit against your employer and knowing the right things to do is always a difficult situation that involves having extensive knowledge and vast experience in employment law. In these scenarios, seeking legal advice and hiring an employment lawyer on your side is the best course of action.

Mesriani Law Group, one of the top law firms in the state of California, uses their decades of experience in employment law to take on and win claims for their clients. They have won over 100 million dollars in damages for their clients and have successfully fought for their clients’ rights. Attorneys well-versed in employment law and wrongful termination cases will be on your side.