When you feel that you’ve been unlawfully fired from your previous position, then it may be possible to bring a legal claim against your previous employer for wrongful termination. There are different options available depending on the exact circumstances of the case.
Bear in mind that seeking monetary damages for wrongful termination is affected by whether you have been already let go or have been informed that it will be happening shortly. There is often also a discussion about a reasonable severance package that is up for negotiation, including the possibility of compensation for being fired. This usually applies in management-level positions where the employee had a reasonable expectation of ongoing employment and was unaware of any issues prior to their being fired.
Wrongful termination is a legal term. Not every firing is lawful and there are various state and federal laws relating to employment and anti-discrimination that are relevant here.
For instance, an employee is protected from being fired because of their race or sexual harassment. It’s also possible that the firing isn’t in accordance with previous company employment policies as laid out in employment policy documentation.
More difficult issues to deal with are better handled by an attorney, like Stewart & Stewart Attorneys who can provide representation for clients going through a similar situation. Certainly, attempts at collective bargaining that a company has fought against and fired individuals because it is a matter of serious concern. Also, making a financial claim or a complaint against another employee and being fired in retaliation for this action is also not lawful.
Also, there is the possibility of statutory penalties and punitive damages, along with lost wages and other compensation if the company is found to be at fault.
Whilst it is extremely distressing to be fired or be told that it’s going to happen, it’s important to remain calm. Acting out or against employment practices can in itself be a valid reason to let you go even if the previously stated reason was not.
You can ask to see your personnel file to determine what notes from supervisors or managers are present in the file.
Ascertain the person who decided to fire you and get written confirmation of the reasons why. See if they’re willing to discuss the matter to resolve it and to learn more about the cause.
A company doesn’t have to offer a severance package unless it’s stated in the employment contract or there’s a handbook for employees that confirms it will be provided.
Some employers who do offer severance packages may look to use that as a point of negotiation. In this situation, the employee is being asked to confirm in writing that they will not pursue a legal remedy against the company in exchange for their severance. It’s always a good idea to talk with an attorney before agreeing to anything to see if a legal remedy will serve your interests better.
Being fired is never a pleasant thing. Always consider what the best outcome is likely to be and pursue that to protect your best interests first.