Being fired from a job can be a traumatic experience, especially if you believe the company is at fault. While most states recognize that a company can terminate employment at will, it is important to make the distinction between those rights and a violation of the law. If those boundaries have been crossed, it is time to hire a lawyer who specializes in wrongful termination.
Determine that you have been illegally discharged from your job before you select a wrongful termination lawyer. These instances include being fired for exercising your First Amendment rights, for attending jury duty, for refusing to break the law, for blowing the whistle on a company's illegal or unethical practices or for any case where the company has breached a contract they have with you.
Demand a copy of all disciplinary paperwork involved with your termination. This should include any write-ups or documentation of why you were fired, with specific dates and descriptions of each incident. Ensure that each document has been signed by a member of management as well.
Select a lawyer to review your case to determine if wrongful termination has occurred. A local employment office or state labor department may be an excellent source for a referral. If your case is solid and wrongful termination is evident, your lawyer will defer all legal fees until a settlement with your former employers have been reached.
Use online resources, such as Legal View, to select a wrongful termination lawyer in your community (see Resources below). These websites can also help you to determine how wrongful terminations are prosecuted and what kind of damages you can hope to recover from your former employer.
Avoid making any sort of threats to your former employer after you have been the victim of a wrongful termination. Allow your lawyer to speak for you and to establish all contact on your behalf. Any additional contact directly with your former employer can undermine the authority of your legal counsel and can jeopardize your case.
- New and powerful laws have been passed in recent years to protect whistle blowers, or employees who report their company's illegal or unethical activities to the authorities. If you have been terminated from a company for blowing the whistle on it, you may be able to recover lost wages, punitive damages and even get your job back as well.