If you’ve been reading our blog, you know what wrongful termination is; but how do you know if you were wrongfully terminated? The truth is that you should consult with a lawyer about the specific facts in your case. An experienced employment law attorney will ask you questions about what happened and make an assessment based on the information you provide. Here are three important questions in determining whether you have a case for wrongful termination:
Did your employer give you a reason for firing you?
In most cases, employers don’t have to explain their decision to fire employees. However, employers frequently do provide a reason. They may even provide a termination letter that states the reason in writing. Common reasons for firing include workplace misconduct, unsatisfactory performance, and company reorganization.
Is the reason true?
If your employer gave a reason, is it true? Be objective:
- Were you fired for being absent without leave (AWOL)?
- Did you argue with your boss at a staff meeting?
- Did you fail to complete an assignment on time?
However, depending on the circumstances, your performance or misconduct isn’t necessarily fatal to a wrongful termination claim. There are other factors to consider. For example:
- Did your employer treat you the same as other employees?
- Was your coworker, who is a different race than you, fired for engaging in the same type of misconduct?
- Did the company advertise your position after firing you as part of a reduction in force (RIF)?
In wrongful termination cases, employers often fabricate reasons for firing employees, or give different reasons at different times. Giving false or inconsistent explanations, suggests that an employer has an ulterior motive and that the real reason for firing is illegal.
Did your employer fire you for complaining?
If your employer fired you for engaging in protected activity, you may have a claim for wrongful termination. Examples of protected activity include filing a union grievance, reporting illegal behavior, complaining about discrimination, and asking for medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Close timing between your protected activity and your employer’s decision to fire you may be evidence of wrongful termination.
How can Alan Lescht and Associates help me?
Alan Lescht and Associates handles wrongful termination cases involving discrimination, reprisal, whistleblower retaliation, and public policy. We represent federal government employees before administrative agencies like the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights (formerly the Office of Compliance), as well as in federal court. Our attorneys also litigate wrongful termination claims on behalf of private-sector and state and local government workers in DC, Maryland, and northern Virginia. Here are just a few examples of our successes:
- Gouse v. District of Columbia: We represented a DC government employee in a wrongful termination case involving discrimination. After we obtained critical evidence and testimony from government officials, the District agreed to a substantial settlement.
- Yousif v. Safeway: We represented a private-sector employee in a wrongful termination case involving national origin discrimination. The court awarded our client compensatory damages and punitive damages after a four-day jury trial.
- Weller v. U.S. General Services Administration: We represented a federal government employee in a wrongful termination case based on false allegations of misconduct. The U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) judge ordered GSA to reinstate our client to his position and awarded him back pay and attorney’s fees.
Contact us today if you believe you were wrongfully terminated.