In this time and age, having regular employment is a great relief. Getting regular pay helps to alleviate financial stress and thereby lower physical stress. That’s why getting wrongfully terminated from your employment is among the most stressful experiences you could face.
Thankfully we have laws in place designed to prevent the wrongful termination of one’s employment. If you can show that your employer unlawfully terminated your employment, then you could win some much needed financial compensation through a wrongful termination suit.
But first, it is important to establish the facts surrounding your case.
What’s My First Step if I Think I’ve Been Wrongfully Terminated?
The thing that you must absolutely try to do first is to keep your calm. Getting especially upset about the situation can lead to all sorts of problems. Smaller problems cover the gamut of negative emotional episodes. But getting upset can lead to poor decisions such as sending a strongly worded email to your ex-boss or trying to get back at them by stealing equipment, slandering or attacking the company.
These behaviors will only make it harder to prove your case. Acting out against your former employer gives the impression that you’ve likely acted out during your time with the company. It just doesn’t paint you as the hero in the conflict.
Instead of getting angry, strive to get answers. Find out exactly why you were terminated. Ask your boss, ask you supervisors. Keep in mind that if there was some discrimination happening in the workplace, you’re employers are unlikely to directly state it as such. If you suspect that discrimination played a role in your termination, it will still be important to know the reason your employer is giving for the termination even though it might not be the true reason at play.
Once you are able to do so with a calm mind it is a good idea to sit down and write out the series of events that led to your termination. Take your time and include as much information as possible, anything that you think is relevant. If you are unsure if something is relevant then take it down anyway. The more information you have for your case, such as the exact dates that interactions happened and even your personnel file, the better equipped you will be to understand and expose the true reasons you were terminated. You can always take out irrelevant information at a later date, for now just write as much as possible.
What Evidence Do I Need to Show I’ve Been Wrongfully Terminated?
Evidence is almost always the key to winning a wrongful termination suit. The more evidence you have, the better your chances. It is important that the evidence be easy to understand. In many ways, the simpler the evidence is the easier it will be to prove the wrongful termination.
You are arguing your termination was illegal and they are arguing it was legal. Documents, emails or schedules are often called forth as evidence. Other sources of evidence include text messages, voicemail messages, photos, eyewitnesses or wage and hour disputes, depending on the circumstances of the details in question.
Where Should I File a Complaint That I’ve Been Wrongfully Terminated?
There are several agencies where you can file a complaint about your wrongful termination. They are empowered with the ability to investigate the circumstances of your termination, determine whether it was unlawful, and impose administrative penalties if appropriate. They may or may not help you to reach a settlement.
Some regulatory agencies you could file complaints with are:
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC): The EEOC handles cases relating to federal laws about discrimination, retaliation and harassment. It may be appropriate to submit a complaint to the EEOC if you believe that your termination had to do with discrimination relating to your race, gender, beliefs or medical issues.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA is chiefly concerned with ensuring that workplaces across the country are safe for employees to work in. If you believe that you were fired because of a complaint relating to an unsafe work environment, then you may want to file a complaint with OSHA.
- The US Department of Labor: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was enacted in 2002 in order to keep public companies from committing fraud. If you believe that your termination had to do with protected activity under 2002’s Sarbanes-Oxley Act then you will want to file your complaint with the Department of Labor and have them look into it.
Cases of wrongful termination can take quite a while to come to completion when simply left to one of the regulatory agencies mentioned above. That’s why there’s one more option available that many choose.
What’s my Next Step to Getting Justice for my Wrongful Termination?
An experienced employment law attorney will be able to look through the details of your situation to give you an honest opinion on whether or not you have a case. Based on the strength of your case they’ll be able to advise you on the chances of getting a settlement or succeeding at suing your ex-employer.
If you have been wrongfully terminated and you want to see your options, or even if you’re sure you want to sue, then give us a call at (386) 676-5678. We here at Vukelja & dePaula are more than happy to go over your employment discharge case and let you know our honest opinion… and we’re more than happy to help you fight for the compensation you’re due.