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SPLF Employment Blog

Wrongful Termination Checklist: How to Know Whether You’ve Been Unlawfully Terminated

Were you recently fired? Do you know whether you were fired for unlawful reasons? Use this wrongful termination checklist to find out. If you can answer yes to one or more of these questions, you may have a wrongful termination case and should speak with a lawyer.

 

Discrimination

  • Were you fired because of your age, sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, or pregnancy?
  • Do you have direct evidence that you were fired based on discrimination? This could be a spoken or written statement by a manager or supervisor telling you that you are being let go for XYZ (discrimination based) reason?
  • Do you have circumstantial evidence that you were fired based on discrimination? To prove circumstantial evidence you need to answer yes to the following four questions:
    • Are you a member of a protected class? A protected class is a group of people with a common characteristic who are protected by law from discrimination based on that characteristic.
    • Were you properly qualified for the job you were performing?
    • Was there an “adverse employment action” taken against you? This can include being fired, demoted, or severely harassed at work.
    • Did someone outside of your protected class fill your position? For instance, if you are a woman, you can check this box if you were replaced by a man.
  • Did your employer make regular rude or negative comments to you?
  • Were you demoted or fired after you announced your pregnancy or once you returned from maternity leave?
  • Did your employer treat certain groups of people differently than others? For instance, women aren’t allowed in certain positions or Hispanics are not allowed to be customer facing, etc.
  • Has your employer been accused of discrimination before?
  • Were you fired after complaining about discrimination in the workplace?

Disability

  • Were you fired soon after you revealed your disability?
  • Did your manager make disparaging comments about your disability (physical or mental) and eventually fire or demote you?
  • Were you fired after requesting a reasonable accommodation? Reasonable accommodation means that an employer must accommodate an employee by providing assistance or altering the workplace in a way that would allow the employee to do his or her job despite their disability.
  • Were you fired for taking time off for your disability?

Public Policy

  • Were you fired after refusing to engage in an act condemned by public policy? An example would be refusing to assist in fraud.

Whistleblowing

  • Were you fired for reporting a violation or an act of misconduct otherwise known as whistleblowing?

Employment Contracts

  • Did you sign an employment contract (outlining employment dates and pay) when you began your job? If so, were the terms of the contract violated? Note that an employment contract is not the same as an employment agreement. Most employees are at will employees and do not have employment contracts.

Retaliation

  • Were you fired after engaging in a legally protected activity? For example, did you complain to your company’s HR department about discrimination or file a complaint with the EEOC and were then demoted, fired, or given a negative review as a consequence?
  • Has your boss gone out of his or her way to make your working environment intolerable and unbearable?
  • Were you warned by your manager or employer about filing a complaint?

Other

  • Have you been put on an employment improvement plan even though your performance has stayed consistent since you were hired?
  • Were you fired for noting that men are paid more than women for the same work?
  • Did the company fire you after you raised issues about unfair pay or that employees sometimes have to work without pay?
  • Were you fired after you discussed (in person or email or social media) pay or other workplace conditions?
  • Were you fired after complaining to management that the company was improperly manipulating its stock?

If you believe that you may have a wrongful termination case after reading through this comprehensive wrongful termination checklist, you should contact a lawyer. Statutes of limitations (the time in which you must fill a claim) can be short for many cases. That’s why it is important to contact a lawyer immediately to discuss the viability of your case and find out next steps.

The Spiggle Law Firm is one of the largest firms in Virginia devoted exclusively to helping employees win workplace disputes and fight wrongful termination. Contact us today to have your case reviewed by one of our experienced attorneys.

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