How Do I Know If I Have A Wrongful Termination Claim?
If you have been fired from your job you may be feeling a number of emotions. It is normal to feel embarrassed, hurt and angry. Losing your job unexpectedly can be financially devastating. Pursuing a wrongful termination claim may not get your job back, but it may give you some peace of mind after obtaining some compensation for your loss.
The employment lawyers at Carter Law Offices in Kansas City take their clients’ cases personally. When you meet with us, you will talk to a compassionate person who will take the time to listen to your concerns and explain your options. If you have been wrongfully terminated, we will pursue every legal means to ensure that you are fairly compensated. To schedule a complimentary consultation, call 816-897-7772. We’re ready to take your call.
Do You Have A Wrongful Termination Claim?
It is not always easy to know whether you have a claim. While you should always talk to an attorney if you are ever in doubt, we have laid out the most common bases for a wrongful termination claim.
Civil Rights Violations – Most employees are classified as at-will employees. This means that the employee and employer have entered into an employment relationship voluntarily with no set duration. At-will employees may be terminated by an employer at any time for any reason so long as it is not an illegal reason. An illegal reason would include firing based on any class that is protected, namely race, religion, sex, age or national origin. Protection comes from statutes such as the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972.
These are the most common basis for wrongful termination claims. An employer will seldom admit to terminating an employee on these grounds. Generally, these cases are proven by showing discriminatory intent in the acts and circumstances leading up to and surrounding the termination.
Implied Contracts – The majority of employers have employee handbooks that not only detail the general rules an employee should adhere to, but also cover the process that an employer will follow prior to terminating an employee. When an employer does not follow the guidelines laid out in a company employment manual, there is sometimes grounds for a wrongful discharge claim. Kansas has interpreted this language as language creating an implied contract with an employee. Missouri does not recognize this exception to the at-will doctrine.
Whistleblowers – Most courts will protect employees who have been fired in retaliation for reporting fraudulent or other illegal activities on the part of the employers.
Public Policy – There are sometimes public policy grounds for a wrongful termination claim. Just as an employer is prohibited from firing an employee for reporting an illegal act, an employer also may not fire someone for refusing to do something illegal. Employers may also be subject to a wrongful discharge action if they fire someone for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
How To Prove Wrongful Termination
For a wrongful termination lawsuit to be successful, you need to provide solid proof of your claim. You must show that your employer’s proffered reason for the termination is false. When employers illegally terminate someone, they almost always claim that the termination was for a legal and legitimate reason.
You can challenge your employer’s story by presenting evidence that disproves it. Your best option is to save any evidence showing the termination is based on discrimination or another illegal reason. For example, keeping copies of emails or speaking to witnesses who may have first-hand knowledge of what took place.
It is also essential to keep track of the period leading up to your termination and document every conversation you have with your employer or coworkers about your termination and any other relevant events at work.
How To Report Wrongful Termination
If you are wrongfully terminated, you should first make a formal complaint to the appropriate agency and seek legal representation. Wrongful termination based on discrimination, or any other illegal reason can be reported to the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (MCHR) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Each agency has its procedure to follow. Your complaint must be supported by as much evidence as you can document and find to demonstrate the truth of your assertion. The agency will investigate your complaint and impose penalties on your employer if they resolve it. However, if no resolution can be achieved, you have the right to file a lawsuit.
While you can report a wrongful termination on your own, it would be advantageous to contact an experienced attorney to help you file a lawsuit. Wrongful termination can be challenging to prove and comes with frustrating amount of paperwork and documents. The attorneys at Carter Law Offices can help you file the lawsuit and move forward with your life and career.
Act Fast! You Have A Limited Time To File Your Claim
If you suspect that you have been fired for an illegal reason, the best course of action is to talk with an employment lawyer who has extensive experience handling these types of claims as quickly as possible. There can be very tight deadlines for filing a wrongful termination claim, so don’t delay. Federal whistleblower protection claims must be filed within 90 days of being fired.