Typically, employers have the right to fire any employee at any time for almost any reason. The exception to this is firing an employee for an illegal reason, which is known as a wrongful termination. Wrongful terminations are defined as any termination made for a discriminatory reason, such as the employee’s race, sex, or religion, or in retaliation after an employee engages in a protected activity. Protected activities include filing discrimination claims, providing testimony to support a colleague’s discrimination claim, requesting reasonable accommodations to make it possible to perform a job without violating one’s religious standards or to make the job possible with his or her disability, and acting as a whistleblower, an individual who exposes the illegal or unethical actions of individuals at his or her company.
Employers know they cannot fire employees for certain actions, so many attempt to disguise wrongful terminations as legitimate ones. An experienced employment lawyer can help you prove that you were wrongfully terminated and seek compensation for your resulting damages.
Differentiating Wrongful Terminations from Legitimate Terminations
The evidence that surrounds your termination is what differentiates it from a legitimate firing. If you received poor performance reviews before you were fired, yet you know you performed well and have documentation to support your claim, you might have been wrongfully terminated. If you were laid off after taking some type of legal action, such as involvement with a labor union or taking off to care for a sick loved one, the layoff might not have been entirely due to financial difficulties.
Gathering Evidence to Support Your Wrongful Termination Claim
Document all of the evidence you have to support your claim. If you think you were fired because of your age, note who was chosen to replace you and the type of feedback you received from supervisors prior to your dismissal. Testimonies from your former coworkers can be important pieces of evidence to support your claim.
Seeking Compensation for Your Wrongful Termination Damages
You can file a wrongful termination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that investigates all alleged acts of employment law violations. Your lawyer can help you gather and present your evidence to the EEOC, which will investigate your claim and potentially facilitate a settlement between you and the company.
When you cannot settle with your company, you have the option to file a wrongful termination lawsuit to have the court rule on your case.
Work with an Experienced Employment Lawyer
A wrongful termination can set your career back significantly, potentially costing you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you feel you were terminated from your position for an illegal reason, do not wait to start working with an experienced employment lawyer to take action and seek compensation for your damages. Contact our team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to set up your initial consultation in our office.