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Five Things To Know About Wrongful Termination
Wrongful termination is often misused by people seeking legal restitution. This stems from the fact that if you are let go from your job, you may feel "wronged" and believe that the firing wasn't fair. While it is always important to consult with a lawyer and discuss your options if you feel that you've been wronged in any way, you should keep these five things in mind before you jump to conclusions.
What You Need To Know
- Most States Have "At Will" Employment Laws - This means that your employer can hire or fire you at will, according to any perceived performance issues or business needs. Generally speaking, there need to be extenuating circumstances to be able to succeed in a wrongful termination lawsuit.
- Wrongful Termination Applies To Reasons For Firing, Not Firing Itself - If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated, you will have to prove to a judge and jury that your employer fired you because of some status or action that is protected under federal or state laws. For instance, you may not be fired on account of your race, gender, pregnancy, age, disability, religion or national origin. Your employer may not fire you if the reason for your dismissal is that you had to serve on a jury, claim workers' compensation or if you refused to commit an illegal act for your employer, among other things. The job of your labor attorney will be to connect the dots and prove that your employer only fired you because of these reasons.
- Keeping Good Records Is Essential - You should obtain a copy of your personnel file on a regular basis, which will include items such as annual reviews and other records of your good work with your company. Your employer's attorney may attempt to prove that your employer fired you for lack of proper adherence to company policies, and you will need to produce evidence to the contrary.
- "Discrimination" Is Not Enough To Prove Wrongful Termination - You can only claim wrongful termination if your termination was a direct result of discrimination based on statuses protected by federal equal opportunity laws.
- Wrongful Termination Suits Are Not Easy - They will often come down to a your word vs. your employer's word type of battle. Be sure you maintain good relationships with your co-workers, as they will likely be called to testify in court about your character and work ethic. You want to have all the perceived evidence for the court on your side.
Hundreds of people win wrongful termination lawsuits every year. However, they only do so with the assistance of trained legal professionals who can help them develop a strong court case. If you don't have a lawyer, you will likely be seen by the court as not taking your wrongful termination suit seriously. Always consult with a lawyer first to see if you have a case. Contact a labor lawyer today!