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In the BLOG

How do you prove wrongful termination?

You think your employer wrongfully terminated you, but how do you prove it? Believe it or not, employers don’t generally come out and admit to firing someone for an illegal reason. Instead, employers give a false reason, such as bad performance or misconduct. Therefore, to prove wrongful termination, you generally must show that the employer’s stated reason is false and that the real reason is an illegal one. You need evidence.

Do you have evidence of wrongful termination?

Let’s look at an example. Say an employer fires a woman for bad performance. The woman claims her supervisor fired her because of her gender. First, the woman must prove that the employer’s alleged reason for firing her is false. The successful performance rating she received six months before her firing, positive feedback her clients sent to the supervisor, and documentation showing that she completed assignments her supervisor accused her of failing to do, may all be evidence of good performance.

Second, the woman must also prove that gender was the real reason for her firing. Supporting evidence may include that the company hired a less-qualified male to replace her. The woman could also call witnesses who heard the supervisor make sexist comments – that men are breadwinners and that women have a duty to raise children. Even if the supervisor didn’t make the comments about the woman or in connection with her firing, these comments indicate gender discrimination. And comments may be sexist even if they don’t explicitly mention gender. Perhaps the supervisor criticized the woman for being “too sensitive” and “ruled by emotion.” People usually associate sensitivity and emotion with women, rather than men. These types of criticisms could suggest gender bias.

What evidence does your employer have?

Remember, the employer has evidence, too. The employer could present evidence that multiple clients complained about her after she received the positive review. And maybe the company president, who is female, not the supervisor, made the ultimate decision to fire the woman.

The truth is, whether you can prove wrongful termination depends on the specific facts and evidence in your case.  And requirements may depend on your location, the employer, and the type of wrongful termination claim. Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of a case is a complicated and ongoing process.  An employment attorney can help you determine what you must prove.

We can help.

Alan Lescht and Associates handles wrongful termination cases for federal government, and for clients who work for state and local government agencies or private-sector employers in DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia.  We can determine if you have a claim for wrongful termination and whether you can seek damages.  We will explain when, where, and how to file your case. Whether you want to seek a settlement or file a lawsuit, we can explain your options and develop a legal strategy.


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