Employment discrimination is often a traumatic experience with devastating financial, mental and emotional after-effects. Yet there’s something that can make this experience all the more difficult to ensure — being unable to pursue compensation for the discrimination you’ve suffered.
That’s the exact scenario facing people who fail to file legal action before the statute of limitations expires.
Let’s take a closer look at how the statute of limitations works in California, and how you can avoid being locked out of the legal system if you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from the illegal actions of an employer.
Statutes of Limitation Explained
A statute of limitation is simply a deadline before which a certain legal claim must be filed. Prospective litigants who fail to file their case before the relevant deadline risk losing the right to their day in court.
These statutes vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and they are also variable within a single jurisdiction.
In California, employees must seek a Right to Sue letter from the California Department of Fair Housing (FEHA) before moving forward with litigation. Historically, employees have had only 12 months to file an administrative complaint with FEHA in order to receive this letter.
However, the recently passed State Assembly Bill 9 extends this window to three years for most employment violations.
Once FEHA grants a Right to Sue notice, you have one year to file a case in court. Court cases may be brought for the following violations:
- Defamation and labor code violations
- Wrongful termination or retaliation
- Failure to pay wages and fraud
- Breach of a written contract
Are There Exceptions to Statutes of Limitations?
In some cases, the answer is yes. Certain situations may cause the timer on the statute of limitations to stop running. Additionally, if an employer continues to violate the law the statute may not precisely apply.
Some litigants may also enter into so-called “tolling” agreements with employers. These agreements essentially extend the normal timeline in an effort to help both parties reach a mutually agreeable settlement.
Finding the Right Employment Law Attorney
At L&B Law Group, we have the experience to litigate even the most complex employment law cases. If you’ve been the victim of workplace discrimination, don’t let the clock run out — contact us today for a consultation.