In most cases, an employer may have the right to end an employee’s employment contract due to authorized causes, such as reorganization, bankruptcy, downsizing, and many more. However, there are instances when terminating an employee for causes other than the authorized ones can be unlawful. Thus, if you’re an employee who feels like you were terminated unfairly or without just cause, then you may be eligible to file a wrongful termination claim.
Essentially, a wrongful termination claim is filed by a party who thinks they were illegally terminated from their employment. In other words, it involves certain violations of federal or state employment laws, employment contracts, collective bargaining laws, and many more. However, it’s important to note that filing a wrongful termination claim is never easy. Some things need to be proved to ensure a successful case.
Keep reading this article to learn about the three crucial elements of a wrongful termination claim.
1. Cause Of Termination
The first essential element of a wrongful termination claim is the fact that you were unlawfully terminated by your employer. This means you need to prove that you were fired for causes other than the authorized ones under the law. You can show proof of wrongful termination by writing down the details of what happened. These can include:
- An exact timeline of events as they happened during the meeting
- How the actual act of being terminated happened, including the people involved and the reasons given for the termination
- Copies of performance evaluations and their corresponding dates
2. The Termination Violated Certain Laws And Contracts
The second element of a wrongful termination claim is that the termination violated certain employment laws and contracts. When your employer violates particular laws and employment contracts, you may be eligible to file a wrongful termination case in court.
And since these cases can be complicated, it’s essential to thoroughly examine the specific circumstances of your termination. This is where the different causes of action in your case enter the picture. Moreover, you’ll also need to identify the type of wrongful termination lawsuits involved to pursue your case.
Hence, to prove that your termination indeed violated certain laws and contracts, you may consider the following:
- Discrimination: This is a common type of wrongful termination that arises when your employer illegally fires you based on your color, race, sex, religion, age, disability, national origin, gender identity and sexual orientation, citizenship, and many more. So, if your employment was terminated in violation of certain discrimination laws, you may want to hire an experienced lawyer to help you file a case in court.
- Retaliation: Your employer has no right to fire you for exercising their employment rights. It’s unlawful for them to terminate you as an act of retaliation against reporting criminal activities at work, filing workers’ compensation claims, and many more.
- Public Policy Violations: Your employer can’t also terminate your employment for refusing to commit illegal actions as it’s a violation of public policy.
- Lack Of Cause: If you have an employment contract that requires just cause and due process for termination but you were still fired unfairly, then you may be entitled to file a case against your employer. This type of wrongful termination claim involves a contractual breach instead of a violation of a statute or law.
As you can see, there can be many reasons for initiating a wrongful termination case in court. But, if you want to obtain a favorable outcome for your claim, it’s important to prove the existence of any of the above-mentioned causes of action. This can also be the perfect time to hire an employment lawyer to help build your claim.
3. The Wrongful Termination Resulted In Damages
When you sustained damages as a result of your wrongful termination, you may be eligible to file a claim against the erring employer. The claim is your way to hold them legally accountable for the wrongful termination. Once you’ve successfully proven that your unlawful termination has resulted in damages, you can go to court and file a claim to recover compensation. The common damages you can obtain after winning a wrongful termination case can include:
- Lost wages and benefits: These are intended to cover the wages and benefits you would have earned and received if you were not unlawfully terminated from work.
- Emotional distress: These are intended to compensate for the anxiety, mental suffering, and humiliation you suffered after unlawfully losing your job.
- Punitive damages: These are awarded to punish the employer for committing unlawful behavior. However, these can only be given when the employer is guilty of fraud, malice, or oppression.
As an employee, unfairly losing your job can be a frustrating ordeal. Fortunately, the law can give you the opportunity to take legal action against the erring employer by filing a wrongful termination claim with the help of a lawyer.
Therefore, if you’ve decided to bring your case to court, keep these crucial elements in mind and you’ll probably have higher odds of winning the case and getting the compensation you deserve.