If you’ve just been terminated from your job, it’s understandable if you’re feeling at a loss. Unemployment is one of the most stressful life events you could name. If you were unjustly fired, it adds insult to injury. It’s natural to feel the need to look for outside help to get justice. If you lost your job based on wrongful termination, you have the right to file a legal claim. Read the following information to find out if a wrongful termination lawyer can help you:
What Is Wrongful Termination?
You may receive conflicting reasons for your termination. Employers sometimes use pretexts to fire employees for reasons they’d rather keep hidden. A wrongful termination lawyer can see if you’ll be able to take action against a former employer if their reasons for letting you go don’t check out.
Here are several situations that constitute wrongful termination:
• Termination contrary to a specific law or regulation
• For exposing a company practice of withholding commissions and vacation pay
• For taking time off to complete jury duty
• Taking time off to vote
• For serving in the National Guard or military
• Over whistleblowing about harmful company activities
• Retaliation for lawful activities
• Because of your race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, or disability
Request a Letter of Termination From Your Employer
First of all, it’s smart to request a Letter of Termination within a few days of your employment dismissal. This helps to document the decision-making process that led to your termination. That’s crucial if you plan to take legal action over your job loss.
A Service Letter is another useful document. Some states require a Service Letter from employers. A Service Letter must clearly state the reason for your dismissal, specify your salary or wages, and list your job duties. This information will be especially useful when your lawyer is building a case, and for determining the amount of damages you deserve.
Send a Letter of Understanding if your former employer refuses to send you a Letter of Termination or a Service Letter. State the reasons for your termination as you understand them. Your former employer must respond to your version of the facts if they disagree.
Review Employment Contracts and Offer Letters
First, look for an employment contract. A written contract that promises you job security is probably the best proof that you were not an at-will employee. Employment contracts and offer letters may state that you can only be fired for a good reason.
Offer letters and contracts can also be used if there is written proof of assurances toward continued and safe employment. Other agreements in the contract could include:
• Duration of your employment
• Regularity of job promotions
• Assurances of continuing employment
• Agreements to provide warnings before termination
• Promises of long-term employment when you were hired
Gather Other Relevant Documentation
It’s always a good idea to collect paperwork related to your job termination. These will often serve as ironclad proof in a dispute. These can include performance reviews, commendations, reprimands, salary changes, and emails. Make sure you have the legal right to use these documents. You could find yourself in legal trouble if you decide to file a lawsuit using confidential information from your employer.
Make a record of each work-related event that led to your wrongful termination. This can include performance actions and informal comments that your employer makes to you, or about your work. Keep track of detailed information about dates, times, locations, and persons involved. It’s useful to note any witnesses who were present, too.
Contact a Wrongful Termination Lawyer
A labor law attorney can help you navigate your way through the complex process of filing a wrongful termination suit. In California, the Law Offices of Cathe L Caraway-Howard specialize in wrongful termination lawsuits. They’ll be able to determine if your case has merit, and they’ll help you recover all the lost wages and benefits you deserve.