Can my employer fire me for filing a wage claim?

It is illegal for an employer to terminate or retaliate against an employee because the employee filed a wage claim against them. Both federal and California laws protect employees from retaliation when they participate in “legally protected activities.” Exercising your legal rights by filing a wage and overtime claim is considered a legally protected activity.

Workers have the right to file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, or to file a wage lawsuit in California or federal court, against an employer without fear of retaliation. When employers violate these rights and discriminate or retaliate against employees who have filed wage claims, workers can pursue retaliation or wrongful termination claims against the employer along with the original wage claim.

In order to establish a case of illegal retaliation, the employee must prove the employer’s harmful employment action toward them was motivated by their engaging in the protected activity of filing a wage claim. The harmful action must be a tangible one, such as termination, demotion or withholding a promotion.

If the employee can prove the above, then it is the employer’s responsibility to prove they had some other valid reason for taking the action against the employee. The employee then has to show the employer’s reason was just an excuse to cover up for the retaliation.

McCormack Law Firm is an San Francisco law firm serving all of Northern California and specializing in the field of employment law. We have extensive expertise in helping people who have been wrongfully terminated and retaliated against recover their damages.

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This law firm was the only one to answer the phone out of the 15-20 law firms that I called that day. I had a wrongful termination case and Bryan really took the time to listen and understand what happened in my situation, and he knows the law to a T. – Shanic M.

I was owed wages and overtime and my employer refused to pay me. So I hired them to file a lawsuit. Bryan easily understood my very complicated case and I am happy with the results. – Ebi Z.

I didn’t have to pay anything, the firm took the whole risk of managing the case. Through the 14 months, Bryan always kept me updated, was very responsive and patient to questions I had. We achieved a resolution out of court in my favor, making me even happier about the experience. – Peter S.

I can honestly say that my experience with Bryan was all the way positive from day one… We had very high expectations about our case and in the end we got what we hoped for. – Roger J.

I won my trial and I got more than I expected. Everyone in the office is so nice and helpful. Even after everything was finished I could call a few weeks after and ask questions to make sure I was protected and they are more than helpful. – Husain N.

I never had to pay Bryan anything up front, nor was ever pressured to settle early. We ended up settling morning of the trial. Bryan is a really sharp, aggressive, seasoned attorney and knew the law inside and out about whistleblower cases. – Kyle B.