How Do I File a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Imagine you work hard at your job, do everything right, and then one day, you get a notice that you are fired. How do you file for wrongful termination? Let’s find out!

Without any explanation, no warning, no severance pay, you are left shocked, angry, and confused.

Moreover, you’re left wondering if you have any rights and if you can do anything to fight back.

If this sounds familiar, you may be a victim of wrongful termination.

Wrongful termination is when your employer fires you for an illegal or unfair reason, such as discrimination, retaliation, or breach of contract.

Wrongful termination can have devastating consequences for your career, income, and well-being.

Nonetheless, you are not alone, and you are not powerless.

You can file a wrongful termination lawsuit against your employer and seek justice and compensation for your losses.

In this blog article, we will guide you through the process of how to file a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Read on to gain the information and confidence you need to file a wrongful termination lawsuit and stand up for yourself.

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How do I file a wrongful termination lawsuit?

Depending on the case, the employee may have to file different claims with the right government agency or they may be able to go directly to court and sue their employer.

A wrongful termination lawyer can help you understand your rights and guide you through the steps of filing a claim or lawsuit against your employer.

Additionally, don’t forget that there is a time limit for filing a wrongful termination claim.

You have to follow this deadline or you will lose any chance to sue.

To file a wrongful termination lawsuit, an employee must adhere to the following steps.

STEP 1: Find out if you have a case.

You will need to prove that your employer broke state or federal law when they fired you to have a valid wrongful termination claim.

This means that you will need to collect evidence to show that you were fired unfairly.

To increase your chances of winning your claim, document everything about your termination, such as any talks you had with your employer, performance evaluations, and witness testimonies.

When you document your case, include the date, time, and place of each event, and what was said or done.

Moreover, if there were other people present when an event happened, get their names and contact details so they can be witnesses for your case.

This will help to make a timeline of events that can be used to support your case.

Examples of proof needed to file a wrongful termination lawsuit

Here are some of the evidence you can provide for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

  • Emails
  • Text messages
  • Performance evaluations
  • Your termination or layoff notification. (If you were dismissed in person, promptly document all details of the meeting, including time, date, location, and the names of any witnesses.)
  • Your company’s handbook
  • Any official work-related documents like your job offer, contract, or job description
  • Employee agreements
  • Pay stubs to calculate lost earnings
  • Conversations with colleagues regarding your termination
  • Recordings of discussions with your employer (if available)
  • Accurate records of your work hours (if alleging unpaid overtime)
  • Any other pertinent information regarding your situation that you believe can support your case.

Ensure the mentioned documents are stored securely and readily accessible.

Keep in mind that if you’re terminated and asked to leave immediately, you won’t have the chance to collect this evidence.

Thus, it’s crucial to have it all organized in advance.

Since you’ll probably lose access to your work devices and email, make sure to have personal copies saved on an external hard drive or in cloud storage.

Step 2: Consult with a licensed employment lawyer

Once you’ve gathered all your evidence, it’s time to talk to an employment attorney.

Note that, the law is complex and it could be challenging to file a wrongful termination lawsuit alone.

Therefore, an experienced attorney will understand the applicable laws and how to build a strong case.

It’s crucial to seek advice from a lawyer who has dealt with wrongful termination cases before and has a successful track record.

Moreover, many employment law firms operate on a contingency basis, meaning they only get paid if they win your case.

This arrangement makes it more manageable for you to afford legal assistance.

Before hiring an attorney, discuss their fee structure and any additional costs for clarity.

Step 3: Make a Formal Complaint Against Your Employer

Your attorney will guide you on the most suitable action to take based on the specifics of your case.

In many cases, this will mean file a wrongful termination complaint against your employer with the right state or federal agencies.

Different laws deal with wrongful termination, so the agency you file your claim with will depend on the law that was broken.

For instance, the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) or OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

You may also have to file a civil lawsuit in court.

Your lawyer will help you decide the best way to go based on the evidence of your case

Step 4. Prove That Your Termination Was Wrongful

After you have made your claim, you will have to show that your firing was illegal.

This will mean that you provide proof to back up your claim that you were fired unfairly.

The kind of proof you will have to show will depend on the law that you say was broken.

The process of showing that your firing was illegal can be hard.

In general, wrongful termination cases in California follow these steps:

Discovery Phase:

The initial stage in any legal proceeding is the discovery phase.

Here, both parties gather evidence and conduct depositions (sworn testimonies).

Typically, this involves document retrieval and witness interviews.

The discovery phase often extends over a considerable period, frequently spanning several months or more.

Conflict Resolution:

After the discovery process is over, the next step is to try to solve the case through conflict resolution.

This is usually done through mediation, where both sides talk to a neutral third party (the mediator) to try to make a deal.

If mediation does not work, the next step is often arbitration, where both sides show their case to an arbitrator who will then make a final decision.

Court Trial:

If mediation and arbitration do not work, the next step is to go to court.

This is where both sides will show their proof and reasons to a judge or jury, who will then determine if the employer is responsible for wrongful termination.

The process of suing for wrongful termination can take a lot of time and money.

It is important to remember that even if you have a good case, there is no certainty that you will succeed.

Step 5. Ask for Compensation for Your Wrongful Firing

If you can show that your firing was illegal, you may get damages.

However, the type of damages you can get will depend on the details of your case.

In general, here are the kinds of damages that you may get when you file a successful wrongful termination claim:

Lost Wages:
If you didn’t get paid because you were unfairly fired, you might get that money back. They figure out how much you should have earned based on what you made before and what you could have made in the future.

Lost Benefits:
If you lost stuff like health insurance or retirement benefits because of getting unfairly fired, you might get those back too. It could also include other perks you would’ve had if you weren’t fired.

Medical Expenses:
If being fired caused you stress and you had to see a doctor or therapist because of it, you might get the money back for those visits.

Cost of Job Search:
If you had to spend money to look for a new job after being fired, like paying for help with your resume or using job search websites, you might get that money back.

Emotional Distress Damages:
If getting fired really messed with your head and caused things like anxiety or depression, you might get money for that too.

Attorney’s Fees:
Sometimes, if your boss did something really bad or if there’s a special reason, you might get them to pay for your lawyer.

Punitive Damages:
If your boss did something super bad and deserves to be punished for it, you might get extra money as a punishment.

How much compensation can you expect for your wrongful termination claim?

It is hard to guess how much your wrongful firing claim may be worth because every case is different.

For instance, a wrongful firing claim can be settled for as low as $10,000 or as high as millions of dollars.

Each wrongful termination case has its own facts, lost income, and emotional pain. For this reason, each claim has to be evaluated on its own.

Note that, to get a better idea of how much your case may be worth, it is wise to talk to a skilled wrongful termination lawyer.

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