There are valid reasons for an employer to let an employee go. There are also invalid reasons which are considered wrongful terminations. If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, it means that you feel your employer violated public policy or state/federal law.
Unless your employer was doing something that broke the law, such as asking you to help them embezzle funds, you probably won’t be able to file criminal charges against them. What you will be able to do is file a civil suit. If you win the case, you should be able to recoup some of your lost wages and possibly even some punitive damages.
The first step you need to take when you believe you were wrongfully terminated from your job is figuring out exactly why your employer fired you. This isn’t always easy.
The most important step in proving that you were wrongfully terminated is getting a copy of all your performance reviews. Ideally, you would have received and saved copies of these during your time with the company, but if you didn’t you’ll have to request them from your former employer. In addition to the performance records, you should also have a copy of the contract you signed when you started working for the employer and any paperwork you received when you were let go. The better your records are, the easier proving your wrongful termination case will be.
If you’re missing some of the paperwork you need, refrain from verbally requesting the missing information. It’s far better to submit a written request. Make sure you keep a copy of this written request. Your records should have when the request was submitted, how it was submitted, who took the request, and how long before they should provide you with the requested information.
Most wrongful termination cases involve the employer telling the employee that they are being let go because they violated one of the company’s policies. When this happens, immediately request proof of this violation. This is called Proof of Misconduct. The proof generally comes in the form of written disciplinary action. Your employer should be able to provide you with the Proof of Misconduct as soon as they let you know that you’ve been terminated.
Depending on the situation, it may be possible to find other employees who have had the same experience with your former employee. These are valuable resources as they will help you establish a pattern of behavior.
Once you have all of these things, the next step is finding a good employment law attorney who will advise you on the best way to handle the situation.