If you were suddenly dismissed from your job and you cannot think of a good reason why this happened, you may have sufficient grounds to file a wrongful dismissal lawsuit against the employer. First, the bad news: wrongful dismissal is very difficult to prove since most employers reserve the right to dismiss an employee at any time without consequence. However, this is not to say you cannot be successful in pursuing a lawsuit. Following these steps will assist you in making sure that you have done your due diligence in pursuing a wrongful dismissal lawsuit before it reaches the crucial courtroom phase.
1. Know the definition
Before you pursue a lawsuit, it is imperative that you know if what has transpired does in fact constitute wrongful dismissal. A wrongful dismissal, or wrongful termination, is defined as an employer either terminating employment without cause and failing to provide sufficient notice, or terminating an employee for cause without providing notice and where there is no cause to dismiss. There are no causes specified in the law that an employer has to adopt as a reason to dismiss someone. As long as ample notice is given, the employment can be terminated. If a severance package is given as part of the dismissal, no wrongful dismissal has transpired. Knowing whether you have a case or not will definitely save you time in court as well as money if you choose to hire an attorney.
2. Record your facts
Before consulting an attorney, you need to gather all of your information because this will ultimately be used as evidence to support your case. Compose a timeline including date, time, location, and the actions of the employer that may be relevant to your dismissal. If possible, include any emails and text messages you received from the employer relating to your case.This information will allow your attorney to examine all of the applicable evidence,decide whether you have a case, and if it should be pursued.
3. Obtain your personnel (or human resources) file
Your personnel (or human resources) file will be important to your case. This file will have any reprimands, performance reviews, correspondence, and appraisalsin it. It will give you a good starting point and will give you an opportunity to draw a conclusion as to why you could have been dismissed. Any documents in the file can be used in court and if there is no information pertaining to reasons for your dismissal are present, the employer will have to answer to this in court. Chances are you were not able to gain access to your personnel file before you left so politely request the documents within it in writing. If the request is denied, ask your attorney to obtain it on your behalf.
4. Speak to the employer
If you have established the fact that your situation constitutes wrongful dismissal with no severance, it would be beneficial for you to reach out to the employer. Attempting to contactthem by telephone may be the smartest way to communicate at this point as your presence at the employer’s office may be construed as trespassing. If calls go unanswered, you may consider putting something in writing as it could be used as evidence if you need to take the issue to court. If you have already been in contact with an attorney, request that they send a request to schedule a meeting to attempt to settle the issue.Taking these steps will demonstrate to the court that attempts were made to address the situation on your own before bringing it to a courtroom.
5. Hire a lawyer
Hiring a lawyer experienced in employment law with experience in wrongful dismissal suits can be the difference between receiving a much-needed severance package or leaving you unemployed and in financial uncertainty. Make sure the attorney that you hiring is experienced in representing the plaintiff, not the employer (the defendant).As mentioned, wrongful dismissal cases are difficult to prove, but hiring an attorney with experience and an impressive success rate will give you the best chance to win.