If you have recently been fired or laid off from your job, it is likely that you are feeling a mixture of emotions. You may feel a sense of anger toward your employer or manager. In addition to anger, you may also be feeling disappointment, frustration, and sadness -- particularly if you believe that the circumstances behind your job termination were unfair.
It is important that you do not act on any of these emotions impulsively. Instead, you should look into the rights you have under the law. If you can prove that your employment termination was wrongful, you may be able to gain compensation or have your position reinstated. Following are the initial steps that you should take.
Understand the definition of "wrongful termination"
As an employee, you are protected by state and federal anti-discrimination laws. If you were fired for discriminatory reasons, you may be able to prove that you were wrongfully terminated. Additionally, you are protected from being fired as a result of retaliation. Your employer must comply with all employment agreements that were made regarding your position.
Ask why your employment was terminated
If you were not given a reason why your employment was terminated, you have the right to ask. Employers do not need to give a reason for termination if you are employed at-will. However, you may be able to show that they took discriminatory or retaliatory action by highlighting your employer's behavior toward you throughout your employment.
It is important that you understand how the law can protect you before making a wrongful termination claim.