If you’ve recently lost your job, and you feel as though you may have been wrongfully terminated, you may have the right to file a wrongful termination claim against your former employer. As respected workplace discrimination lawyers in Philadelphia and the surrounding region, we understand that losing your job is a difficult situation, and you might not be sure what to do next. We’re here to help.
What Deems a Termination as Wrongful?
Several reasons could make a termination illegal; these include:
- Being fired as a form of sexual harassment, or in direct violation of state and federal discrimination laws.
- Being fired in violation of labor laws or written employment agreements.
- Being fired in retaliation for a complaint filed against the employer by a disgruntled employee.
When proven, these violations can carry statutory penalties. Most will result in the payment of substantial damages to compensate the employee for the loss of earnings and additional expenses. In some cases, an employer may have to pay punitive damages to the employee that has been terminated. An experienced lawyer knows what is appropriate to pursue, and how to do it.
What to do After Being Fired
First, try not to lash out or act instinctively on negative feelings towards your former employer. Look over your contract, if you have one, and contact a wrongful termination attorney to help advise you on the proper course of action. Inquire about who decided to fire you and what the reasons were behind this decision. Ask to view your personnel file and try to negotiate a severance package based around promises made by your employer. Try not to get intimidated. Be sure to return all company property before any legal proceedings begin.
Information Regarding Severance Packages
Employers are not obliged to provide severance pay to employees unless pre-determined in a contractual agreement. However, to avoid legal action, some employers will negotiate a severance package with an employee that has been fired.
Contact an attorney for advice on the specific actions to take; they will be able to weigh the pros and cons of a wrongful termination claim and help you to make an informed decision.
In many cases, it makes sense for a former employer to pay you off outside of court in order to avoid court costs and to save face with regard to their reputation.