Wrongful Termination and Steps to Fight Against It
Get Laid Off?
You just got laid off from a company you have invested a major part of your life building? Yeah, it sucks! But do you feel your job was a wrongfully terminated? If positive, why do you feel so? Sometimes what most persons refer to as ‘wrongful termination’ is not actually a wrongful termination. Let’s take a look at what a wrongful termination is, the things to consider before concluding to sue your employer and the damages you could be awarded if you win the suit eventually.
What is Wrongful Termination?
A wrongful termination is one in which an employee is fired for illegal reasons which violates federal anti-discrimination laws or breaches an agreement or contract. Any termination that comes with a ‘cause’ is wrong, whether the cause is racism, physical disability, religion, gender or race. Or maybe you laid a complaint against the administration or refuse to indulge in an illegal transaction.
When Can I Say my Job Was Wrongfully Terminated?
If your job was terminated due to any of the reasons listed below, then you have a valid claim for wrongful termination.
Harassing an employee is a crime against the federal law, whether it is a sexual harassment or just offensive comments. The law is strongly against it as such you have a valid case against such an employer and should file a wrongful termination suit.
Breach of Contract
This is yet another valid reason to file a wrongful termination suit. Violating an employment agreement or promises made is a crime answerable to the law. So, if the circumstances around your termination involve a breach of contract in any form, you should file for wrongful termination immediately.
Laws exist which protects employees from being fired due to discrimination. So, this is a clear violation of the federal law as such you have a valid claim for wrongful termination. The question is, how do you know you have been discriminated against? To be sure discrimination is the actual reason for your job termination, you have to answer the following questions;
- Do you have any substantial evidence? For example, did your employer discriminate against you at any point in time, be it verbally or in writing?
- What are the circumstances surrounding your termination? Were you terminated just after the employer learned about your religious belief, age, ethnicity or political belief? Were women the only employes affected by the recent layoff?
- Does your employer give preferential treatment to other employes from a certain race or of a certain belief or of a particular age?
If you got fired just after reporting potential violations in the company or due to your participation in certain protected practices, then you were wrongful terminated and eligible to file a wrongful termination suit against such a company.
Things to Consider Before Suing your Employer
Your first instinct when you are fired is usually to file a lawsuit. Not so fast! There are a few things you should consider before filing a suit so you don’t incur more loss. Be sure to answer these questions before taking any further action on that suit.
- Are you sure it actually is a wrongful termination?
- What do you wish to gain from suing the company? Is it feasible? Are you doing it just for revenge sake?
- Lawsuits take time and resources. Are you willing to invest resources and time in pursuing this case?
What are the Damages I Will Be Awarded If I Win a Wrongful Termination Suit?
This depends largely on the circumstances of the wrongful termination. Some of the damages include:
- Injunctive relief
- Front pay
- Punitive damages
- Attorneys’ fees
- Back pay
- Compensatory damages
Helpful Tips for Those Who Just Got Fired
True, it can be really devastating but you have to brace yourself and try to improve your position. Some of the tips include the following:
- First and most important, do not act on any negative instincts against your employer. Anger and desperation might set in but you have to be careful what you say or do.
- Get an employes’ rights lawyer as soon as possible. The lawyer is in the right place to proffer the perfect solution to remedy the situation.
- Get acquainted with the terms of your employment What are the DOs and DON’Ts in there? Do you have anything to leverage on?
- Do not be intimidated, go back to the company and inquire the reason for your termination and find out who decided to fire you.
- You can also request to view your personnel file.
- If any promises were made by your employer, be sure to review each one of them and gather evidence to back up your claim.
- If your lawyer decides a severance is a better option compared to filling a lawsuit, then you should request for a severance package.
- Make sure to put everything into writing. From the agreements regarding your termination to the severance agreements.
- Lastly, endeavor to return all property that belongs to the company.