Perhaps the most important thing you can do once you begin to have an idea that you could be terminated is to begin keeping meticulous records and documentation. This is crucial should you decide to proceed with a wrongful termination claim in order to accurately portray what events took place. Records like these can also be helpful whether you apply for unemployment and your previous employer challenges the claim. Some states require that your employer give you access to the bulk of your personnel files excluding any extremely confidential records. Once you have your personnel file in hand, ask for copies of your employee reports, job performance reviews or anything you think could possibly be important. Make a list of the documents inside in case your supervisor later tries to say a report doesn’t exists—or adds a new document.
Document the Termination Process
Keep careful documentation of your entire termination process including the date, the time, where you were when you were terminated and the names and addresses of all people who were even marginally involved in your termination. Additionally, have a record of your salary increases or decreases since you have worked for the company, any negative or positive employer evaluations and even notes of the most casual comment made to you by supervisors or employers in regard to your job performance.
All your records should be kept in a secure place with backups if possible. Particularly in our current shaky economic climate employees are laid off nearly every day. Most employees are protected by employment laws which mandate specific process for termination. Those who feel they have been wrongfully terminated could possibly bring a claim against the former employer. Of course not all wrongful termination cases end up in a settlement, but if yours is successful, you could be eligible for back pay, punitive damages, job reinstatement, other damages and even your lawyer’s fees.
Do You Have a Solid Case?
If you believe you were terminated in an act of discrimination regarding your age, race, gender, disability, national origin or religion you could be eligible to file a wrongful termination suit. Should you have been terminated after you complained about some form of harassment or discrimination you could have a solid case or if you believe you are being retaliated against because you filed a grievance against your employer. Should you have taken off work for military service, voting, the hospitalization or illness of one of your children or your own serious, long-term illness and were terminated for any of those reasons then you could have grounds to sue your employer.
If you think your employer violated their own employee policies by terminating you or if you were fired for organizing a union you could have a solid lawsuit. If you were a long-time employee and now have reason to think it could be a lengthy amount of time before you find comparable employment then you may be able to claim you suffered significant economic harm from the termination. Finally, if you have endured emotional trauma because of your harmful treatment at work you may be able to claim wrongful termination.