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How Long Do You Have To Sue For Wrongful Termination?

Employee receiving an employment termination notice

Time Is Running Out to File Your Wrongful Termination!

When it comes to working in the United States, employees are protected by certain laws that prevent their employers from wrongfully terminating them. Unfortunately, wrongful termination does occur and when it does, it is important for employees to know their rights and how long they have to file a claim for wrongful termination.

This article will discuss relevant employment laws, the statute of limitations for wrongful termination claims, exceptions to the time limit, and factors impacting the time limit. With this knowledge in hand, you’ll be able to seek justice and compensation if you were wrongfully terminated from your job.

Overview of Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination is a form of illegal discrimination in which an employee is fired or laid off for reasons that violate their legal rights. Some common grounds for wrongful termination claims include racial discrimination, age discrimination, gender discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination, and disability discrimination.

Additionally, employers may not terminate an employee for refusing to break the law or engaging in activities protected by the law such as whistleblowing or participating in union activities.

If you believe you have been wrongfully terminated, you will need to act quickly as there are strict time limits on when you can file a claim.

Understanding the Relevant Employment Laws

Understanding the relevant employment laws is important when considering filing a wrongful termination claim. It’s crucial to be aware of the statutes that may apply in your particular situation, including any statutes of limitations, as well as any other legal requirements or rules that must be followed. Additionally, it’s important to understand the scope of an employee’s rights and protections under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal discrimination laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

All these laws provide individuals with protection against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. Understanding how these laws may affect your case can help you make informed decisions about how to proceed with a potential wrongful termination claim.

Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations

Simply put, the statute of limitations is a time period during which an individual can file a lawsuit such as wrongful termination. It varies by state and the type of claim, but generally speaking, plaintiffs have one to three years from the date of their termination to file a lawsuit against their former employer. However, this time frame can be shortened or extended in certain cases depending on the facts and circumstances of the case.

For example, if an employee was terminated due to discrimination that was part of a pattern or practice of discrimination, then the applicable statute may be longer than one year. Additionally, if there is evidence that an employer tried to conceal discriminatory practices leading up to a wrongful termination, the statute can also be extended.

It is important to note that statutes of limitation are strictly enforced so it is important for employees to consult with an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible after they believe they have been wrongfully terminated.

Illustration of a man at the bottom of an hourglass fighting against time

Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Termination in New York

In the state of New York, employees who believe that they were wrongfully terminated have a period of three years from the date of their termination to file a claim for wrongful termination. This is consistent with other states in the United States and is often referred to as a statute of limitations. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule that could extend or shorten the time limit depending on the circumstances of the case.

Exceptions to the Time Limit

The time limit for filing a wrongful termination claim can vary depending on the applicable laws, including state and local employment laws. In addition, the type of employment discrimination alleged may also affect the statute of limitations.

For example, if an employee is claiming that they were wrongfully terminated due to employer retaliation after filing a workers’ compensation claim or filing a discrimination complaint, then there may be additional time allowed to file a claim. Additionally, some states have extended statutes of limitations for other types of claims such as whistleblower cases or intentional infliction of emotional distress cases.

Generally speaking, you must file a claim within 180 days of being wrongfully terminated in order to preserve your rights. An individual may have up to 300 days to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if they believe they are being discriminated against on the basis of any of the criteria specified in Title VII or other applicable federal laws.

Moreover, if you are pursuing both state and federal remedies, you typically have to file the EEOC charge first before bringing a lawsuit to court. It’s important to note that these time limits are subject to change so it’s best to speak with an experienced attorney who can help you understand your rights and ensure that all deadlines are met.

Types of Wrongful Termination Claims

When filing a wrongful termination claim, it is important to understand the type of claim being filed. Common types of claims include discrimination or harassment based on race, age, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or other protected characteristics under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; unlawful retaliation for engaging in activities such as whistle-blowing or reporting discrimination or safety violations at work; and breach of contract if the employer failed to follow the terms of your employment contract during the termination process.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file multiple claims. It’s important to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney to ensure that all relevant laws are taken into account when filing a wrongful termination suit.

Employee packing his belongings into a box after being terminated from his job

Generally, there are two types of wrongful termination claims: those based on employment contracts and those based on laws that protect workers from discrimination or harassment.

Employment Contract-Based Wrongful Termination

Employment contract-based wrongful termination typically occurs when an employee is let go in violation of a written agreement between them and their employer. These agreements often outline rules for dismissal, such as providing advance notice or payments for unused vacation time. If an employee is fired without being given these benefits, they may have grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Discrimination-based Wrongful Termination

Discrimination-based wrongful termination claims arise when an employee is terminated due to the employer’s discriminatory actions toward them based on their race, gender, religion, national origin, disability, or age. In some cases, employers will try to cover up their discriminatory behavior by providing false reasons for firing an employee; however, if there is evidence that discrimination was a factor in the decision to terminate someone’s employment then they may be able to file a wrongful termination claim against their former employer.

Race Discrimination – Employers are prohibited from treating individuals differently or unfairly based on their race or ethnicity. This includes discriminatory hiring, firing, promotions, and pay practices, as well as racial harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

Employers must provide a workplace that is free from racial discrimination and harassment, and they can be held accountable for such actions. It is important for employers to be aware of these issues and to take steps to prevent and address racial discrimination in the workplace.

Gender Discrimination – Employers are prohibited from treating someone unfavorably or differently because of their gender identity or sex. This can involve discriminatory hiring and promotion decisions, unequal pay, and sexual harassment, including unwanted advances, comments, or physical contact.

Employers must provide a workplace that is free from gender discrimination and harassment. It is important for employers to take proactive steps to create a culture of respect and inclusion in the workplace.

Religious Discrimination – Employers are prohibited from treating an employee unfavorably because of their religious beliefs or practices. This includes refusing to accommodate an employee’s religious practices, such as time off for religious holidays, or discriminatory hiring practices based on religion.

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for employees’ religious practices and beliefs, as long as doing so does not place undue hardship on the business. It is important for employers to understand and respect employees’ religious beliefs and practices in the workplace.

National Origin Discrimination – Employers are prohibited from treating someone unfairly because of their country of origin, ethnicity, or accent. This can include denying employment or promotional opportunities, treating individuals differently because of their accent or national origin, or subjecting individuals to harassment or a hostile work environment.

Employers must provide a workplace that is free from national origin discrimination and harassment. It is important for employers to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and to create an environment that respects employees from all backgrounds.

Disability Discrimination – Employers are prohibited from treating someone differently or unfairly based on their physical or mental disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This includes making decisions about hiring and firing, promotions and demotions, job assignments, pay rates, and benefits packages.

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations for disabled employees and should seek the employee’s input on what accommodations would be preferable. However, employers are not obligated to provide accommodations that place undue financial or operational pressure on the business. It is important for employers to create an inclusive workplace that accommodates employees with disabilities and respects their rights.

Age Discrimination – Employers are prohibited from treating an employee unfavorably because of their age under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). This includes discriminatory hiring practices, failure to promote based on age, or creating a hostile work environment based on age.

Employers must provide equal pay and benefits to older workers, and they can make decisions based on factors such as experience, skills, and job performance, as long as age is not the determining factor. It is important for employers to create a workplace that values employees of all ages and promotes a culture of inclusion and respect.

How The Howley Law Firm Can Help

Are you facing an employment dispute or unfair dismissal? If so, our experienced attorneys here at The Howley Law Firm are here to help. Our team of legal professionals provides comprehensive advice and assistance in litigating all types of employment law issues.

We understand that this can be a difficult time for individuals and our goal is to ensure that your rights are protected no matter what. Whether you are dealing with discrimination, wrongful termination, a hostile work environment, or any other type of mistreatment in the workplace, we are prepared to fight for justice on your behalf.

Our team has extensive experience representing both employers and employees in court and can advise you on the best course of action when navigating through the complexities of the legal system. Contact us today for more information about how we can assist with your employment litigation needs including wrongful termination.

Need Assistance With Employment Litigation?

If you have experienced wrongful termination from your job, it is crucial to act quickly and file a case against your employer within the statute of limitations. Doing so not only protects your rights as an employee but also helps to ensure that justice is served.

Here at The Howley Law Firm, our team is comprised of experienced employment litigation attorneys who are dedicated to helping individuals who have suffered wrongful termination. With our expertise, we can guide you through the legal process and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Don’t wait any longer; contact The Howley Law Firm today to schedule a consultation with an experienced wrongful termination lawyer and take the first step towards reclaiming your rights as an employee.

Lady justice


While the burden of proof is on the employee, a skilled attorney can help gather strong evidence and build a compelling case to demonstrate that the termination was illegal. With the right legal representation, employees who have been wrongfully terminated can hope to achieve justice and possibly receive compensation for their losses.

The highest settlement for wrongful termination varies depending on the specific case and jurisdiction. However, there have been some high-profile wrongful termination cases that resulted in multi-million dollar settlements. For example, in 2019, a former vice president of Tesla was awarded $1 million by a jury in a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company.

At-will employment is a legal concept that allows an employer to terminate an employee at any time and for any reason, as long as it is not an illegal reason such as discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract. Similarly, an employee can also quit at any time for any reason. Most states in the US follow the at-will employment doctrine unless there is a specific employment contract or collective bargaining agreement that provides otherwise.

To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a whistleblower lawyer, call John Howley, Esq. at (212) 601-2728.