Wrongful termination: What to do, how to protect your rights

As an employee, you have the right to fair treatment by your employer. This doesn’t mean everything will always go as planned, but there are both federal and state laws in place to help protect you against unfair circumstances.

If you suspect that you were wrongfully terminated, you’re sure to have feelings of both frustration and anger. Rather than let your feelings boil over, here’s what you need to do:

  • Keep your cool: When you learn of your termination, it’s easy to let your emotions get the best of you. For example, it’s tempting to lash out and accuse your employer of wrongful termination. It’s best to keep your cool, ask key questions and begin to formulate your next moves.
  • Collect evidence: Should you have any evidence related to your wrongful termination, keep it nearby for future use. For example, if a supervisor sent you an email that you found suspicious, print it out as soon as possible.
  • Consider any offer your employer makes: Despite your termination, your employer may make you a severance offer to provide some payment for your service. You should strongly consider the offer, starting with a thorough review of the details. But before you do anything, request that the company put the offer in writing.
  • Talk to the HR department: You have the right to ask questions regarding your termination, such as the reason why. The company won’t necessarily provide you with straight answers, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking. All the information you collect at this time can help you in the future.

There’s no exact playbook for what you should do in the event that you’re wrongfully terminated. The steps you take depend largely on your circumstances.

If you have reason to believe your legal rights were violated, such as a termination resulting from your race or religious affiliation, you may be able to take action against your employer.

This is a time to collect evidence, learn more about your legal rights and decide how to hold the company responsible for their actions. If you’re successful, you may be able to regain your position and/or obtain compensation for damages.

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