HOW TO FILE AN ILLEGAL TERMINATION CLAIM

Wrongful Termination Suit


An illegal termination claim can be one of the most stressful challenges any employee can face.



Writing this page is very personal for me because I've had to file an unlawful termination claim against an employer. I thank GOD ALMIGHTY for preparing me for the experience. About 9 months before I was illegally terminated I realized the importance of learning my basic employee rights.


Because I educated myself prior to being fired my illegal termination claim was successful! That's why I have such a passion for sharing what I KNOW can and will work for every employee wrongfully terminated. I was terminated for alleged insubordination for declining a "created shift" change. I knew based on my previous research my termination was unlawful and Thank GOD I unlike so many employees was prepared to defend my employee rights.


I knew the very first thing I needed was to consult with a wrongful discharge attorney specializing in employment law. Indeed, this is Step One for any employee that believes he/she has been unlawfully discharged. It is also imperative to do this soon after being fired. There are what's called "statutes of limitations" that take affect with a time limit for you to file an unjust termination claim.


Statutes of Limitations basically means "a legal system that sets the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated." For example, you may have 180 days to 360 days to file your illegal termination of employment claim. Also your state may have what's called a "Human Rights Commission" or something similar. This state agency may have an administrative requirement for investigating your wrongful termination claim.


illegal termination claim


Illegal Termination Suit

That means you must file your complaint with them BEFORE you can file a "right to sue" lawsuit for wrongful termination involving discrimination or retaliation with the (EEOC) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Again, if you believe you are the victim of negative or adverse employment action find an experienced employment lawyer immediately! The following are some actions our bosses can use that could add up to wrongful termination cases;

  • getting demoted
  • denied equal training as co-workers
  • denied equal longevity awards as co-workers
  • denied promotions
  • victim of workplace bullying
  • denied employment
  • denied seniority
  • denied equal pay
  • constant "write ups" or reprimands
  • harassment at work
  • denied leave
  • denied benefits
  • getting "micro" managed
  • reduction in salary
  • getting laid off
  • adverse employee performance appraisals
  • denied equal bonuses as co-workers for performance
  • denied being re-employed
  • shift change or reassignment
  • hositle work environment
  • adverse job reference
  • denied reasonable accommodation
  • getting fired
  • constructive discharge

Now let's take a look at the exact "nuts & bolts" of the illegal termination process. When the complaint is filed with the EEOC it MUST be filed in person or by U.S. mail within 180 days. If you live in a state that has discrimination laws the deadline becomes 300 days from the date of termination.


illegal termination claim


Suing Employer For Wrongful Termination

The form for filing an EEOC complaint MUST start with basic info;

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your telephone number
  • Your employers name
  • Your employers address
  • Your brief description of the illegal termination charge
  • Dates of your claims of employment violations

I have vivid memories of sitting in the IT department directors office and being told "Your are suspended and terminated". That was back in March 1998. On May 1st 1998 I was reinstated to my position. Why? Because of four things;
  • GOD ALMIGHTY
  • I started learning my Rights in the Workplace 9 months BEFORE I was terminated
  • My employer ASSUMED I didn't know my Basic Employee Rights!
  • I hired an attorney that specialized in employment law

I make NO apologies for acknowledging My LORD and SAVIOUR Jesus Christ for blessing me with the wisdom to SEE what my employer was intending to do almost a year before it went down. Then I went online and to the public library and started educating myself to the specific area my boss was attempting to use to show me the door. Most employers will take for granted job seekers and employees are clueless when it comes to their rights in the workplace.


illegal termination claim


Wrongful Termination Claims

Unfortunately, those employers are right. As an employee rights mediator, coach, trainer, advocate and activist my research and experience reveals over 90% of those entering the workplace have little or no employee rights education! This workplace ignorance makes At Will employment doctrine an effective weapon for employers to use against employees.


Well that said, the question is exactly how would you navigate the process of filing an unlawful termination lawsuit? Since I've been there done that got that tee-shirt I'll add a few tips I used along with the basic guidelines.

(1) Reality Check
The very first thing You must do is think through whether filing a wrongful termination lawsuit is to your advantage. I learned from personal experience the toll this can take on you and especially your family. A supportive circle of family and friends is priceless in helping you maintain focus for the battle. Make no mistake, once you file that complaint with your states equivalent Human rights Commission or other named agency your employer views you as an enemy.

(2) Organization
One of the reasons I'm such an advocate for Basic Employee Rights education involves this second tier in the lawsuits for wrongful termination process. when job applicants take time to read and learn about employee rights BEFORE accepting a job the level of self empowerment goes through the roof! Why? Because you will have gained wisdom to SEE, RECOGNIZE and PREPARE FOR the employment violation attempts as they are being constructed against you.


Being PREPARED involves putting together any and all documentation related to your employment such as;

  • employee handbooks (original and latest update)
  • emails
  • memos
  • (EEO) Internal Equal Employment Office complaints or correspondence
  • job description(s)
  • work schedules and time sheets
  • documents of promotions and demotions
  • job evaluations
  • job interview notes
  • information regarding your employee contract if employment is not At Will
  • letter(s) of job offer(s)
  • social media posts, tweets, etc.
  • document any and all human resource and legal department memos, notices,etc.
  • any tape, cd, dvd and any other electronic recordings


illegal termination claim



Sue For Wrongful Termination

It is extremely important for employees to understand this...Human Resources, EEO and the Legal Department are not your friends!!! Never assume in necessary communications with these individuals your best interests are their top priority. Who pays their salary? Who do they have to answer to? Human Resource people are taught to "fake" sympathy and understanding of your employment problems. The bottomline is always document but NEVER trust what they say, always focus on what they do.


Once you have accumulated all the documentation, you then need to categorize everything. For example, make a binder or folder called "All Work Schedules from (date to date)", "Job Evaluations with supervisor X", etc. Organizing your documentation makes it easy to reference when needed. I make a "master" copy of everything and then two backup "masters" of that. I keep one at home, one for my legal adviser and one with a trusted friend or family member. The reason for this is in case of fire, burglary or flood at home I'm still covered. Update all copies at the same time if possible.


Keep your records in chronological order (most recent-oldest) for easy placement and access. Lastly, Make a document detailing the issues and facts of your illegal termination claim. If you've taken these steps and more importantly started learning your basic employee rights before it all began, you are now "armed" and ready to enlist an employee rights attorney. However, this may not be an easy process and can be quite challenging.

Have you ever wondered why there are an abundance of "personal injury" lawyer commercials on radio and television but little or no "employee rights" attorney commercials? Well, it comes down to one simple thing....money! Workers Comp and personal injury claims are a lot easier to win. From my experience most attorneys coming out of law school are following the money. Another very important consideration is being financially able to sustain an illegal termination claim.


illegal termination claim


Can You Sue For Wrongful Termination

Finding an experienced employment rights attorney and being financially able to move your illegal termination claim forward are the two MOST challenging steps employees can take. I was blessed to find an attorney that was competent and not subject to the political pressure of representing a wrongful termination claim against a local government! Be aware if you work for local, state or federal government you will face different obstacles than working for private employers.


You would think your local governments would the first to enforce the rights of employees. Unfortunately, I and others are learning these entities are some of the biggest abusers of employee rights. Why? Because they can "hide" behind what's called "sovereign immunity". This basically means it's a lot harder to "win" a lawsuit.


You can do an internet search on Google for "where to find employee rights attorney or lawyer" for assistance, contact your local bar association or the yellow pages. Be careful talking to co-workers about suing for wrongful termination. Remember your employer can and will use co-workers against you. Your co-workers may be easily intimidated by your boss to isolate, harass and intimidate you. You never know who the "judas" or "jezebel" may be and many employers faced with an illegal termination claim will have no problem resorting to workplace retaliation against the complaining employee.


After retaining a lawyer file your illegal termination claim with the (EEOC) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If your wrongful termination charge is one of discrimination it usually will have to be filed with your state agency if any and then the EEOC before a private lawsuit filing. Here is link to the filing a charge of discrimination EEOC site.


illegal termination claim


Wrongful Termination Of Employment Claims

The next step is for you or more appropriately your attorney to file your illegal termination claim with your local County Clerks office in the Courthouse. The County Clerk accepts the documents and copies by dating and time stamping them. There is a filing charge that varies from state to state. The original document is put on file with the courthouse. Your employer is then served with the complaint and a summons. Your employer has a certain amount of time to respond to the summons and complaint called an "answer".


Your boss is subject to the rules of Civil Procedure of your state and federal guidelines to the time requirement for responding with its "answer". Trust me your employer will deny any and all accusations of unjust termination in response to your complaint. If your boss does not "answer" your complaint in the required time frame the court will award what's called a "default judgement" in your favor. However, don't count on this happening.


As your illegal termination claim moves forward you will probably be surprised at how hostile your boss becomes. There will be what's called the "discovery process" that involves both sides getting information to use against each other in preparation for a trial. the discovery phase involves things like...

  • interrogatories (the employee's request for info from employer and vise versa)
  • subpoenas (order or request to give testimony)
  • depositions (out-of-court oral testimony of a witness that is reduced to writing for later use in court or for discovery purposes)
...intended to gather documentation, evidence and testimony from you and the employer. If your boss makes an offer of settlement before trial this may be an indication of the strength of your illegal termination claim. If not then your attorney will begin pre-trial preparations. After the trial begins and ends then you win or lose. Either way the judgement falls there may be an appeal. Every job seeker and employee should learn more about wrongful termination answers.


illegal termination claim



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For those who want to take control of their Basic Employee Rights
Email: Name:   

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I promise to use it only to send you Basic Employee Rights eNews!