To prove wrongful termination, you will need to show that your employer’s reason for firing you was illegal. Generally, an illegal reason for wrongful termination is discrimination, breach of contract, retaliation, or a violation of public policy.
If you have been wrongfully fired from your job, you will need supporting evidence that shows you were not legally let go from your job duties.
Laws prohibit employers from firing employees for unjust reasons. While many employees are considered “at-will” which means that you can have your employment ended at basically any time, but laws prevent discrimination, retaliation, and other illegal acts against workers.
To help prove wrongful termination, you will need to:
- Gather evidence
- Speak with past coworkers
- Detail your termination
Gathering Evidence To Prove Wrongful Termination
You will need to gather supporting evidence to get a claim underway against your employer for wrongful termination.
You should provide:
- proof of employment
- employment contract
- employee handbooks
- job evaluations
- personnel file
- copies of job evaluations
- pay stubs
- memos or emails
- witness statements
- notice of termination
An employment contract is an agreement between the employer and the employee. It details the expectations, the pay, and other details.
This contract is legally binding after the employee has signed it. If there is only a verbal agreement, and no written contract, then an implied contract is in effect. Implied contracts are also an exception to at-will employment.
If your written contract or implied contract was for continuous employment and you were fired for a reason not stated as cause for termination, you can file a claim against your employer for wrongful termination.
If you have this kind of lawsuit, the court will consider the language of the employment agreement, terms surrounding your employment, and any verbal or written promises made by the employer for you to have permanent or continuous employment.
You should maintain a file of all your work-related documentation, so you can make sure you have the evidence to support your claim should the need to file a lawsuit ever arise. You will need all the evidence and documentation that you can gather to support your claim against your employer.
You should also keep copies of your termination (if it was in writing or in a memo). Having this document can make a big difference for your wrongful termination claim.
Talk With Coworkers About Your Wrongful Termination
Statements from coworkers or from individuals who are former employees of the company could be very helpful to the outcome of your wrongful termination claim against your employer.
If management has made jokes about sexual orientation, race, or age, that can be used in a discrimination lawsuit to help show a pattern of the behavior.
If there have been sexual advances made, offensive emails or memos with derogatory comments, inappropriate photos displayed, or other signs of discrimination or wrong doing that could have been a sign of discrimination or mistreatment. Remember, documentation is essential to the success of your wrongful termination claim.
Write Down Details of Your Termination
You will need to maintain thorough records detailing your termination from work. You should prepare a timeline of the events, detailing everything as it happened.
Usually, a wrongful termination case starts long before the employee is actually fired. This can include:
You will need to write down all events of your termination and events leading up to your termination. This can include:
- A timeline of events in the order they happened. This can include previous examples of discrimination, if you had filed a claim against your employer, etc.
- Gather any notes about your employment and/or job evaluation and date each one.
- Make notes of any coworkers that may have been involved in your termination. This can be bosses, people from HR, colleagues, and/or clients. Make note of how they may have been involved in your termination.
- Write down all details of your actual termination. This may include who fired you, who was there, what was said, and any reasons for your termination.
Make these notes in as much detail as possible. If you are unsure if something is important, you should still make note.
You should keep copies of all job performance evaluations along with their dates. If you are fired after having positive reviews, it can be a sign of wrongful termination.
You should make notes regarding those who were directly involved in your termination from the job. This may include managers, supervisors, and human resources.
There are also people who are involved indirectly, such as clients and colleagues. Jot down detailed notes about the process of actually being terminated.
Make note of who was there, what was said, and if any reasons were given for your termination – what reasons were given. Every little detail could affect your claim, so be sure to write own every detail that you think could be important to your case.
Determining If Any Laws Were Broken
In order to prove that you experienced wrongful termination, you will need to determine what law(s) were broken. Some examples of wrongful termination include:
- Racial, Color or Nationality Discrimination: If you experienced discrimination because of your race prior to your termination
- Age Discrimination: If you are 40 years or older and younger employees are treated better
- Disability Discrimination: If you had been denied reasonable accommodations, or fired because of your disability
- Gender Discrimination: If those of the opposite gender are treated better
- Pregnancy Discrimination: Firing an employee for being pregnant
- Retaliation: Getting fired for filing some type of claim against your employer
- Whistleblowing: Reporting fraud, unsafe work conditions, etc. and getting fired as a result.
These are just some examples of wrongful termination. Once you can determine what about your termination was illegal, you can then work on proving your wrongful termination claim.
Hire A Wrongful Termination Attorney
If you have been fired from your job, and you believe it was an act of wrongful termination, you should talk with an employment law attorney who handles wrongful termination cases.
A lawyer can help you get your claim organized, gather the supporting evidence and documentation, and then get your claim filed against your employer for their actions. Your employer will have legal representation looking out for their rights, so you need to make sure you have someone who is looking out for you.
Some employment law attorneys take such cases on a contingency basis. That means that the lawyer will not be paid until you win your claim and recover damages.
Be sure to discuss the payment process with the attorney during your consultation. There is a time limit for pursuing such a claim, so complete the Free Case Evaluation Form to get connected with an independent, participating attorney who subscribes to the website.