Career Advice

How Do I Tell if I Was Wrongfully Terminated?

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An unexpected firing can cause you severe emotional and financial stress. It is therefore important to know how to respond to such a scenario, especially if you feel that the reason for your termination was unlawful. If you feel like this applies to you, you may be wondering how to determine whether the dismissal was wrongful or not. Here are 4 things to help you tell if you were wrongfully terminated or not.

First, Consult with Your Employer Directly

While it can be difficult to stomach confronting your employer following your termination, doing so can be beneficial, especially if you are considering pursuing the case legally. Professionally discussing the reason(s) for your firing can be helpful in determining whether the firing was unlawful or not, as it will give you the opportunity to request any documentation related to your firing, such as performance reviews. This can be valuable evidence if you do later file a legal challenge against your employer. If your employer refuses to hand these over, you may also infer from this that it is worth continuing to investigate your termination. In addition, you can also have an employment attorney demand them later if you choose to pursue the claim.

Check if Your Reason for Firing Was Illegal

An important stage of determining whether your firing was legal or not is identifying the reason for your firing and whether it could be a felony. Unfortunately, all states bar one allow businesses to fire their employees for any reason, providing the reason was not specifically illegal. Examples of wrongful termination therefore typically include firings on the basis of discrimination, firings where the employee has been a “whistle-blower” against the organization, and, similarly, firings where an employee has been terminated after speaking up against harassment or other behaviors that create a hostile workplace, both of which can be considered retaliation. Alternately, your dismissal may be unlawful if you were fired after refusing to commit an illegal act for your employer.

An unexpected firing can cause you severe emotional and financial stress. It's important to know how to respond to such a scenario. If you feel like this applies to you, you may be wondering how to determine whether the dismissal was wrongful or not.Click To Tweet

Check the Specifics of Your Contract

If you live in an at-will state and could not identify a felony that your termination would fall under, the last way for you to determine whether you have a legal case for wrongful dismissal is to check the details of your contract. This is because your employer may be liable if you can prove that they violated the specifics of your contract. Your employer may be liable, for example, if your contract guaranteed that you would be employed for a set period of time, and your employer dismissed you before the end of this period.

Consult a Lawyer

If you are still not certain whether you were wrongfully dismissed or not, or you have investigated the claim and are now considering taking legal action, it is time for you to contact a lawyer. At this point, a lawyer can give you an expert’s opinion on whether your termination could be unlawful, advise you on what compensation you might be entitled to, and evaluate whether you have enough evidence to support your claim.


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