Wrongful termination is an upsetting experience that can leave you feeling powerless and confused. You may have been fired without notice or any good reason. It can leave you without a clear path forward. But you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you believe your termination was wrongful, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your former employer.
In the US, individual states have their own guidelines for ending employment. Before filing a lawsuit, research employment laws in your state, such as wrongful termination in California. If you’ve been wrongfully terminated, it’s important to know your rights and understand the process of filing a lawsuit. In this article, we’ll explain the steps of a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Understanding Wrongful Termination
Employees have the right to leave their jobs for whatever reason they choose, whether because of a poor work environment, a conflict with a superior, or a desire to pursue another opportunity. However, there are also some situations where an employee might be fired wrongfully. This can occur when the employer has no legal right to terminate the employee.
For example, if you’re fired because of your past criminal convictions, the employer probably didn’t have legal grounds to fire you in the first place. Similarly, if your employer fires you for being pregnant, they don’t have the right to do so. In some states, wrongful termination claims may also be available if you were fired due to gender identity or disability.
Assessing Your Case
If you believe your employer wrongfully terminated you, it’s important to carefully assess your case and ensure you have a solid foundation for filing a wrongful termination lawsuit. This will include considering the potential impact of pursuing a lawsuit. While it’s unlikely your employer will take you back after firing you, you can find out what went wrong and prevent a similar situation.
Gather Evidence of Wrongful Termination
Before you file a wrongful termination lawsuit, you’ll want to gather evidence to support your case. This can be done by speaking to your manager, coworkers, HR representative, and human resources department.
- The date and details of your termination
- The reasons your employer fired you
- Any witnesses to the termination
- The tone of any conversations between your manager and other coworkers regarding your termination
- Any documentation that supports your claim
You’ll also want to document any incidents that occurred during your time at work that might support your wrongful termination claim.
Review Your Employee Handbook
Suppose you’re at the preliminary stages of filing a wrongful termination lawsuit. In that case, it is also a good idea to review your employee handbook and see what rights you may have under your employer’s policies. Many companies include information in an employee handbook that outlines the company’s policies regarding worker conduct, employment law, and disciplinary procedures. You may be able to use your handbook as evidence if you believe your employer wrongfully fired you.
Consult an Attorney
If you have enough supporting evidence, consult a wrongful termination attorney. This will allow you to compare the costs of filing a lawsuit and get professional advice and guidance on your case. An attorney can also serve as a helpful sounding board and guide through the legal process. Even if you’re not sure whether you have a viable case, it’s important to consult an attorney.
Prepare for the Legal Process
During the legal process, it’s important to keep a level head, remain vigilant, and protect yourself from being bullied or pressured by your former employer. The legal process can be overwhelming and can take between 18 to 24 months to resolve. You can prepare with a few tips. For one, ensure you have all of the necessary evidence for your lawsuit. This includes copies of your paperwork, any audio or video recordings, information from any witnesses you may have contacted, and any other evidence you may have.
Any legal action can cause tempers to flare. Avoid unnecessary confrontations with your former employer, online or in person. If you have any questions or concerns during the process, schedule a meeting with your lawyer to discuss them.
Wrongful termination is an unfortunate reality for many people. Legal action can help you receive compensation for lost wages, emotional distress, and other damages. If you believe your termination was wrongful, arm yourself with the knowledge to take the necessary steps to protect your rights.