Wrongful termination in violation of public policy is a serious matter that can have significant consequences for both employees and employers. In California, employees who believe they have been wrongfully terminated have legal recourse to seek justice. However, it’s crucial to understand the deadline for filing a claim to ensure that your rights are protected.

Understanding Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy

Wrongful termination in violation of public policy occurs when an employer fires an employee for reasons that contravene fundamental public policy principles. These reasons may include refusing to engage in illegal activities, reporting illegal conduct, exercising legal rights, or taking protected leave under state or federal law. California recognizes public policy as an exception to the at-will employment doctrine, providing employees with legal protection against unjust terminations.

Deadline to File a Claim

In California, the deadline to file a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy is governed by the statute of limitations. Under California law, employees generally have two years from the date of the wrongful termination to file a claim with the appropriate administrative agency or in court. However, it’s important to note that certain circumstances may extend or shorten this deadline.


A cause of action for wrongful termination in violation of public policy accrues when the employment actually terminates, whether by the employer or the employee (i.e., constructive discharge). In the case of Colores v. Bd. of Trustees, 105 Cal. App. 4th 1293, 1320, 130 Cal. Rptr. 2d 347, 368 (2003), as modified (Feb. 18, 2003) the Court confirmed that “it is the actual termination of employment that starts the statute of limitations period running, not when the alleged intolerable working conditions occur.”

Other Deadlines

Depending on the nature of each case, circumstances may extend or shorten the deadline to file a claim for wrongful termination. For example, if the wrongful termination is based on discrimination, employees must first exhaust their administrative remedies by filing file an administrative complaint with the California Civil Rights Department within three years of the discriminatory act. After receiving a right-to-sue letter from the Civil Rights Department, employees have one year to file a lawsuit in court. Government employees may have different deadlines and procedures for filing claims, depending on their employer and the nature of their employment. Other examples abound.

Importance of Seeking Legal Counsel

Navigating the legal complexities of wrongful termination claims requires the expertise of an unlawful termination attorney. Here’s why seeking legal counsel is essential:

  1. Legal Guidance: Unlawful termination attorneys can provide valuable legal guidance, explaining your rights, assessing the merits of your case, and advising you on the best course of action.
  2. Deadline Adherence: An unlawful termination attorney can help ensure that you meet all deadlines for filing claims, preventing potential dismissal due to missed deadlines.
  3. Evidence Preservation: Attorneys can assist in gathering evidence, documenting the circumstances of your termination, and preserving evidence to support your claim.
  4. Negotiation and Advocacy: Unlawful termination attorneys negotiate on your behalf with your employer, seeking a fair settlement or representing you in court to pursue justice.

Understand Your Rights

Understanding the deadline to file a claim for wrongful termination in violation of public policy is crucial for protecting your rights as an employee. With California’s statute of limitations and the guidance of an unlawful termination attorney, you can navigate the legal process effectively and seek justice for wrongful termination. Don’t hesitate to consult with an attorney if you believe you’ve been wrongfully terminated – your rights and future employment prospects may depend on it.

Reach out to Akopyan Law Firm, A.P.C. when you need an unlawful termination attorney serving Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Bakersfield, and Ventura. Please see our website and our case results to see what we have achieved for clients in Southern California. We offer a complimentary case evaluation, so do not hesitate to contact us.