I was just fired – how do I know if it was a wrongful termination?

If you were just fired, you are probably still having a hard time grasping the reality of your situation. You may be going through a stressful and painful time, wishing you could forget the humiliation you experienced. At this point, it may be worth your while trying to understand what wrongful termination is and whether you would need a wrongful termination attorney to help you fight for your rights.

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Should you start by talking to an attorney?

Going over the circumstances of the day you were fired, you may come to the conclusion that this was a wrongful termination that should never have happened. To make sure you are on the right track, you may want an attorney to review the facts of your termination and assess the situation to determine whether the case warrants a legal claim.

Your lawyer may offer several ideas as to how to proceed once you yourself are clear on whether you want to be reinstated or you want a fair severance package. You may also consider filing either administrative charges or a lawsuit against your former employer, or you may decide you would do better putting the whole unpleasant experience behind you and moving on to a new job.

If you were asked to sign a waiver or release of claims giving up your right to sue, you might have firmly shut that door even if you later change your mind about bringing a lawsuit against them. It’s recommended that you not sign until you have had a consultation with your attorney to understand what claims you would be giving up and how much they might be worth.

What are some common examples of wrongful termination?

  • Discrimination is a frequent cause of wrongful termination. This can be present when you lose your job because of your age, race, gender identity, religious beliefs, a disability, or other reasons. You may have been witness to actions that suggest that this is precisely why you were let go.
  • Retaliation is another form of wrongful termination and it happens when you are a whistleblower or when you are a witness to an illegal activity going on and say something about it to your employer. Also, if you have filed a complaint with the EEOC because you believe you have been suffering from harassment or discrimination and are then fired.
  • You were fired because you were on a permitted medical leave, or because you had to take time off to have a baby, or because you took time off to go vote or serve on jury duty.
  • You lost your job a very short time before you were due to receive some benefits, such as vesting stock options, or because if you had stayed longer you would have been eligible to receive a pension or an amount for your retirement.
  • Despite having an employment contract that clearly specifies when you can be terminated, your employer has violated an element of the contract.

Don’t leave your job loss unresolved. A wrongful termination attorney can review the facts of your case and suggest the best way to proceed. You may be entitled to receive a severance package or even be reinstated in your job if that is what you wish.

Interesting related article: “What is a Lawsuit?