Employment laws vary from one state to another. This also applies to wrongful termination. Because each state sets its own laws, what is considered wrongful termination in one state may not be wrongful termination in another state.
Specific federal laws do apply to every state, and this remains true regardless of any state laws. In all 50 states, it is illegal for an employer to fire someone because of their gender, race, national origin, religion, age, or disability.
If you believe that you have been wrongfully terminated from your job, you need to know how to proceed with a complaint.
Here are the steps that you can take after wrongful termination, so you can make sure your complaint is filed in a timely manner and that all the supporting evidence is in order.
Filing A Charge With The EEOC
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversees several aspects of employment law, including wrongful termination. If you believe that you were wrongfully terminated, you should speak with a representative of the EEOC.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your color, age – if 40 or older, sex, religion, race, gender identity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, or national origin, you can file a Charge of Discrimination.
When you file a Charge of Discrimination, you are asking the EEOC to take remedial action against your employer. You will need to provide the EEOC with the details that they will require to pursue the matter.
You will need to provide your full name, your contact details, the details about your employer, the kind of work you performed, your manager or supervisor or the owner of the company, and details regarding your job title and your salary.
You can submit your inquiry online, and then you will be contacted by an EEOC employee who will interview you for more information.
Evidence and supporting documentation are essential for a successful complaint against your employer for wrongful termination.
You will need your employee handbook, employment contract, copies of evaluations, and any other supporting documentation, such as memos, text messages, letters, and so forth.
You should also detail what happened and what was said during your termination and ask any witnesses to provide statements regarding what they saw and heard.
Filing With Your Local State Agency
Many states and localities have additional laws regarding discrimination. They also have their own agencies that enforce the laws that prohibit discrimination against employees.
The EEOC refers to these state agencies as Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs). According to the agreements between the EEOC and FEPAs, when you file a Charge of Discrimination with either organization, it will automatically get filed with the other agency.
So, if you file with your local FEPA, they will share the details with the EEOC and vice versa. If you file a charge with your local agency, make sure you want the charge to also be forwarded to the EEOC for filing as well.
Working With An Employment Law Attorney
If you have been the victim of discrimination in the workplace, and that discrimination resulted in your wrongful termination, you should enlist the help of an employment law attorney.
With an attorney representing you, you are much more likely to succeed with your charge against your employer.
An attorney will investigate the matter and will gather supporting evidence and documentation to ensure you have a solid charge against your employer.
When you consult with an employment law attorney, be sure to discuss their payment plans.
Some attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that they will not be paid until you win your case and are compensated for your damages.
There are employment law attorneys who charge a retainer upfront. You want to understand the payment process and expectations upfront.
Filing a charge with the EEOC or local agency can be complicated and challenging. An employment law attorney is knowledgeable about the process and will make sure all documentation is in order and that your claim is filed in a timely manner.
There is a statute of limitations – or a time limit – for filing a Charge of Discrimination after wrongful termination. In most cases, that is only 180 days from the date of the incident. If you wait too long, you cannot recover your losses.
To get the details of your wrongful termination reviewed by an employment law attorney who represents workers in your area, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page.
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