If you believe you were fired for illegal reasons, there are steps you can take to right the wrong and obtain compensation from your former employer. First, you need to understand that in many states, including Florida and Georgia, employers canfire workers “at will,” meaning they don’t have to have a specific reason for letting you go. However, state and federal laws do offer protection to employees under certain specific circumstances.
I Was Wrongfully Fired!
You may well have experienced wrongful termination, especially if any of the following circumstances apply to you:
- An employer cannot terminate you for reasons related to your race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, age (over 40) or gender.
- You can’t be legally fired because you complain about harassment or discrimination along any of the above lines.
- If you report illegal wage and hour practices or safety violations at work, you cannot be fired in retaliation.
- You also cannot be let go because you need accommodation for a health-related circumstance, such as pregnancy, or because you take a legally protected leave of absence.
Steps to Take After You Were Wrongfully Fired
Whether you feel you are about to be fired or can already say, “I was fired,” the following steps can increase your chances of success in a wrongful termination lawsuit.
Step 1: Try not to overreact
Although losing your job is certainly a stressful experience, it is best for you to remain calm, if possible. Making a memorable scene is never in your best interest. It is possible you could regain your job with help from an attorney, so you want to act carefully and with dignity.
Step 2: Gather evidence
Documentation is often the key to a successful wrongful termination case. Gather and secure any computer files, text messages, voicemail messages, journal entries, photos, and other documentation relevant to your firing. Especially important is evidence that demonstrates harassment, discrimination, or hostile retaliation.
Step 3: Refresh your memory for events
Sit down and write out a timeline of events that occurred leading up to your termination. You can use the documentation you have gathered to help you with this step. A written timeline will ensure you are clear about what has taken place and will help you demonstrate a pattern of illegal action to strengthen your case.
Step 4: Consider filing a complaint with the EEOC
The U.S. Equal Employment Commission accepts and documents wrongful termination complaints, and they can investigate and attempt to resolve the matter for you. You have a right to representation by a lawyer during the complaint process and when your case is heard by the EEOC administrative judge.
Step 5: Talk to an employment lawyer
An experienced employment lawyer can assess whether or not you have a wrongful termination case and, if so, can often maximize the compensation you receive. With legal help, you can get your job back, if desired, or receive restitution to make up for your lost income, lost opportunity/reputation, termination-related costs, and more.
Get the Justice You Deserve
The Feldman Williams law firm is dedicated to fighting for justice for workers. Our wrongful termination attorneys have achieved substantial settlements for many past clients. If you believe you have been wrongfully fired, we encourage you to contact us today for a free case assessment.