Employers can fire employees for many reasons. Most employees are considered to be “at-will” and they can be fired at any time.
However, there are still laws and protections that help employees and indicate what is considered wrongful termination.
As an example, you cannot be fired because of your race, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, or religion. You cannot be retaliated against because you reported a problem or were a whistleblower. Federal laws – and some state laws – offer protections to workers who are wrongfully terminated from their jobs.
Examples of Wrongful Termination Scenarios
There are several ways you can suffer wrongful termination. As an example, you heard your manager making sexual advances to a coworker who wasn’t interested, and then you heard him making negative remarks about women in the break room. Later, that coworker was demoted – despite having done her job adequately and having adhered to employee requirements.
You reported the incident to human resources and indicated what you heard and what you have witnessed. You have had positive evaluations and always gotten high marks when reviewed by your supervisor in the past.
However, after you make the complaint about the sexual harassment your coworker endured, you are fired without legitimate cause. That is a case of wrongful termination.
Another scenario involves being fired for sexual orientation. You were offered a management role and had received positive reviews at work.
Your manager heard that you are gay, and then confronts you about at work. You can tell your manager acts differently toward you after finding out those details.
A week later, you are fired for no reason. Coworkers heard that your manager made comments about homosexuals working for the company.
Either of these scenarios detail situations where wrongful termination took place. In either of these situations, you would need to speak with an employment law attorney who handles wrongful termination cases.
Your lawyer will help you gather the supporting evidence and get your claim on track. Always jot down notes that detail each scenario and what happened, so you can make sure that you have the supporting evidence that you need for your claim against your employer if you were wrongfully terminated.
Preparing To Sue For Wrongful Termination
If you have been wrongfully terminated, you will want to file a lawsuit against your employer for their actions.
You will need to gather supporting documentation, so you can prove that you were wrongfully terminated. Your documentation may include, but isn’t limited to, the following:
- Employment contract
- Employee handbook
- Employee memos or emails
- Statements from coworkers
- Any other employee documents
- Statements from clients and colleagues
You will need to provide proof that you were not an employee at-will. This could be proven by a written contract or through an implied promise, which is a verbal agreement with your employer.
These documents will indicate that you will be working for a set time, or that there are only specific reasons for which employment can be terminated and your reason wasn’t one of those listed.
Evidence and documentation are necessities for successful wrongful termination lawsuits against employers. Ask coworkers, clients, and colleagues to provide written statements that could be helpful to the outcome of your case.
If they have heard inappropriate comments or actions that indicate discrimination or mistreatment, that can help you have a successful wrongful termination case against your employer.
Consult With An Employment Law Attorney
If you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, you should enlist the help of an employment law attorney who handles wrongful termination cases in your state.
An employment law lawyer will be familiar with the state and federal employment laws that apply to your situation and will help you gather supporting evidence and documentation.
When you talk with a wrongful termination attorney, you should ask questions about your case and how the attorney is paid.
Some wrongful termination lawyers take cases on the contingency basis, which means that you will not pay anything until your case has been won. At that point, your lawyer will receive the agreed percentage of your settlement or judgment.
To make sure your wrongful termination lawsuit is filed in a timely manner.