Were you terminated from your job and you think it was because of unlawful reasons? If so, you may have been wrongfully terminated.
Under state and federal laws, your employer cannot fire you for an illegal reason, even if you are an at-will employee. If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, you may be able to file a wrongful termination suit against your employer to recover your damages.
1. Determine If You Have a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
There are several different common wrongful termination suits. Here are a few of the different kinds of lawsuits that may result after a worker has been unlawfully terminated from his or her job.
- Discrimination – Discrimination includes being terminated for your job because of your gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, or other reasons that are prohibited by law.
- Sexual harassment – You cannot be fired for refusing any sexual advances or propositions.
- Retaliation – Retaliation occurs when an employer retaliates against an employee for participating in legally protected activities just because they disagree or do not approve.
- Whistle-blowing – You are protected by law if you report any unlawful or possibly harmful activities that your employer is participating in. As an example, if you report illegal dumping or misappropriation of funds, you cannot be terminated.
- Violation of an agreement – If you had a written contract or verbal agreement that has been breached by your firing, this may be wrongful termination.
Once you establish if you have grounds to file a wrongful termination claim, you will need to produce evidence to support your claim.
2. Gather Evidence That You Need To Win Your Suit
If you have been wrongfully terminated and you file a suit against your employer to recoup your damages, you will need to provide supporting evidence and documentation to back up your claim and to show that you were the victim of prohibited actions.
You should maintain a file of supporting documentation that will prove you were wrongfully terminated. Including:
- employment contracts, employee handbooks, and any pre-employment screening documents
- performance reviews or job evaluations
- paystubs and/or timecards
- statements from any coworkers or from individuals who formerly worked at the company could be helpful in the outcome of your wrongful termination claim
- any previous complaints you made to management for harassment or discrimination
- your termination notice or a note about the conversation if you were terminated orally
- written details about your termination
You will need to maintain thorough records and extensive documentation detailing what happened and how it happened. Prepare a complex timeline of events, detailing everything that happened from the course of your employment with the company.
3. Determine Your Type of Employment
You will also need to determine if you were an at-will employee. At-will employees can be fired at any time with or without a valid reason. If you are unsure if you were an at-will employee, it will likely be stated in your contract or any other documents you may have signed when hired.
There are some employees who are not classified as at-will employees. These include those that are members of a union, public employees under civil service regulations and employees who have written or oral contracts with their employers.
4. Speak With an Attorney
If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, you can benefit greatly from the guidance of an employment law attorney.
An employment law attorney will be familiar with the state and federal laws that apply to your situation, can review the details and evidence, and determine the best way to proceed with your claim.
An employment law lawyer who is licensed in your state can help you gather as much supporting evidence as possible and will help you get the compensation that you deserve for your employment law claim for wrongful termination.
Discuss the payment options with the employment law attorney. Some attorneys require a retainer to be paid while others will take the case on a contingency basis.
Your lawyer will know the best way to proceed with your claim against your employer and will determine the damages that you are entitled to receive.
You have a limited amount of time to pursue a claim against an employer after wrongful termination, so do not delay getting the legal representation you need. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form today!
Damages That You May Be Entitled To Receive
When you file a claim against your employer for wrongful termination, you will want to ask to be compensated for any damages you suffered because of the illegal action.
In cases revolving around wrongful termination, you may be able to recover both compensatory and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are your actual losses, such as lost wages, lost pay raises, lost benefits such as medical insurance and retirement plans, bonuses, and so forth.
If you lost your medical insurance when you lost your job and you had to seek medical care and pay out of pocket, you may ask your employer to reimburse you for the amount that the insurance would have paid if you had been covered.
Punitive damages can be set by the court to punish the employer. If they believe that the wrongful termination was planned out and done illegally and intentionally, they can award punitive damages as one way to punish the employer and to deter them from such behavior in the future.
Often, punitive damages are awarded if it is determined that the employer has a pattern of such behavior and the court expects the problem to continue in the future. The value of your claim can vary significantly, and no two claims are the same.