How Long Do I Have to Sue for Wrongful Termination?

If you think you were wrongfully terminated from your job, you need to sue before the time limit runs out.

This time limit is known as “The Statute of Limitations” and it varies based on the state you’re in and the reason for your termination.

Various employment regulations employ distinct timeframes and processes.

Overview of Wrongful Termination

Wrongful termination occurs when someone is fired or let go for reasons that are considered unlawful or illegal.

This can include discrimination based on race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Additionally, employers may not fire a worker for refusal to do something illegal or for participation in legally protected activities such as whistleblowing or being part of a union.

An image illustrating how long do i have to sue for wrongful termination
How long do i have to sue for wrongful termination
Source: wenzelfenton


Wrongful Termination Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a deadline for suing someone, like in a wrongful termination case.

It changes depending on where you live and the specific issue.

Usually, you have one to three years from when you were fired to take legal action.

However, this deadline can be different based on the details of your situation.

Suppose an employee got fired because of discrimination that was part of a regular occurrence of unfair treatment.

In that case, the time limit for taking legal action might be more than one year.

Also, if there’s proof that the employer tried to hide discriminatory actions before the wrongful termination, the deadline for legal action could be extended.

It is important to keep in mind that time limits for legal action are strictly upheld.

Employees must talk to a knowledgeable employment law attorney promptly if they think they were wrongfully dismissed.

Workers are safeguarded against wrongful firings by both state and federal labor laws.

Each of these laws has its own time limit for taking legal action, and some require specific administrative steps to be taken before going to court.

Illustration: Reporting Misconduct or whistle-blowing

A case illustrating varied time limits for legal action in wrongful termination involves the retaliatory firing of whistleblowers.

In California for instance, California Labor Code 1102.5 LC is a state law that safeguards individuals who expose unlawful actions in the workplace, often known as whistleblowers.

It prevents any form of retaliation towards you if you:

  1. Share information with law enforcement that you genuinely think reveals a breach or non-compliance with a law or regulation, or
  2. Give testimony or provide information in a public investigation regarding what you genuinely believe is a violation or noncompliance with a law or regulation.

The time limit prescribed by this specific state law is straightforward.

According to Labor Code 1102.5 LC, you must initiate your wrongful termination lawsuit in a state court within 3 years.

Another Example;

If an employee asserts, that they were unfairly dismissed because of employer retaliation following a workers’ compensation claim or discrimination complaint, there might be extra time granted to file a claim.

Moreover, certain states have prolonged time limits for various claims, like whistleblower cases or intentional infliction of emotional distress cases.


In general, you need to submit a claim within 180 days of experiencing wrongful termination to protect your rights.

However, if you believe you’re facing discrimination based on criteria outlined in Title VII or other federal laws, you have up to 300 days to file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

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