Getting fired or laid off from your job is invariably stressful, but when you are let go for reasons that are wrong, even illegal, it can make the situation much worse. When you believe your employer fired you or laid you off based on reasons that are illegal or because you have refused to engage in conduct you believe is illegal or reported illegal conduct by the company, you may have the foundation for a wrongful termination claim. Should your case be successful, you may be able to obtain damages from your employer.
The Wood Law Office, LLC, assists employees throughout Chicago and surrounding areas in understanding their legal rights and standing up for those rights. If you were fired based on illegal reasons our firm would like the opportunity to talk with you and discuss your legal options. Our team can help you understand you situation from a legal standpoint, and determine if you have a viable wrongful termination case.
What Is Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination refers to the firing or laying off of an employee based on illegal reasons. Some of the most common reasons to terminate employment include:
— Retaliation against an employee that filed a claim against the employer, such as discrimination, or reported or refused to engage in other illegal conduct.
— As a form of sexual harassment.
— In violation of anti-discrimination laws or other laws protecting employees from termination.
— In violation of employment agreements.
— In violation of labor laws.
— In violation of an employment contract you have with your employer.
If you and your attorney can prove that your employment was terminated based on any of these reasons, there is a strong chance that you can collect damages. Depending on the specific violation, there may be standard penalties that the employer will have to pay, or you may be able to get damages based on the expenses and lost wages that resulted from your termination. You may also be able to negotiate for a severance package in certain circumstances.
What To Do If You Are Wrongfully Terminated
When you are fired for reasons that you know are wrong, it can bring up a lot of unpleasant emotions, including anger. While it is OK to feel upset and to take action, you want to be specific and careful in what actions you take. Immediate retaliation will only hurt your future case, so under no circumstances should you act out towards your employer.
If you have one, take the time to read through your employment contract and educate yourself. Keep a cool head and contact an employment lawyer as soon as possible. Your attorney can give you advice on what to do next to ensure that your lawsuit is successful.
Getting A Severance Package
Unless your employer previously agreed to a severance package in writing, you should not expect to get one without negotiations. Your attorney may discuss with you the option of seeking a severance package as opposed to filing a wrongful termination case. Sometimes it is possible to negotiate for a severance package in exchange for agreeing to waiving your ability to file a lawsuit against your employer.
Whether you want to seek a severance package instead of a lawsuit is ultimately up to you. Your attorney will give an opinion on which option is better, but the decision is yours. If you do decide to negotiate for a severance package, defer to the advice of your attorney on how you should act and what strategy you should use when negotiating. You will want to remain calm and be clear about the terms you want before you approach your employer. Negotiations are a back and forth process, so avoid jumping to accept the first offer your employer puts on the table. You will also need to get any agreement in writing.
Pursuing A Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
Seeking a severance package is only an option in certain circumstances. Your employer may not be amenable to it, or you may feel like what your employer did was wrong and that legal action is an important step in setting things right. Whatever the reason, if you want to pursue a wrongful termination case you will need an experienced attorney at your side if you hope to be successful.
The Wood Law Firm, LLC, has a proven ability to fight effectively on behalf of employees. Our firm works with a wide range of clients to pursue legal action after wrongful termination, and we are interested in hearing your story. Please contact our office today for a free consultation about your wrongful termination and to learn about the legal options that are available to you.