Do you feel your employer has wrongfully dismissed you?
Unfortunately, in the United States (US), most states do not have any existing wrongful termination laws. Most employees are contracted as “At-Will Employees” by default – meaning that the employer holds the right to fire an employee at any time with or without substantial cause.
However, all workers have employee rights and are entitled to certain benefits stipulated by the Employment Law. Employees can receive severance packages, continued health benefits, and unemployment insurance upon termination.
As soon as they know about their dismissal, employees can claim workers’ compensation benefits from their employer. There are specific steps that employees must follow to ensure that they get what is due to them. You can request the legal counsel of a wrongful termination attorney to guide you during this process.
Here are the five critical actions to take if you think your employer has fired you without a cause.
Find Out The Reason For Your Termination
You must find out the primary reason or cause of your dismissal. If you have previously received any verbal or written warnings or been subject to a disciplinary hearing, then your employer must have raised some of these reasons.
This step is crucial as it ensures that the reason for your termination was not on the basis of discriminatory actions or harassment towards you. Should that be the case, you should take the matter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The Commission is responsible for regulating the treatment of employees and recruits – primarily focussed on discrimination.
Contact Human Resources (HR)
Once your attorney has reported your case to the EEOC, the next step is for you to contact your HR department concerning any payments that may be due to you. Compensation in the form of severance packages, unpaid commissions, and outstanding paychecks must all reflect before the end of your employment.
Ask For A Recommendation Letter
Employers often regard employee dismissal as a negative trait, seeing it as failure to conduct your tasks as an employee. Therefore, it is crucial to ask for a recommendation letter to indicate confidence in your abilities, encouraging potential employers to hire you.
Apply For Unemployment Benefits
According to state employment law, all dismissed employees will get several unemployment benefits to offset financial distress due to loss of income. These benefits may include continued medical insurance, a lump-sum severance package, or a percentage of current earnings over 52 weeks.
Leave On Good Terms
It may be challenging to still be the same friendly person you are when you no longer have job security, but it is vital to keep your composure and leave your previous work with subtlety and grace.
Leaving on these grounds ensures no grudges or hard feelings between you and your previous employer. Therefore when a new or potential employer calls your reference list, they hear nothing but good traits about you and give you a good recommendation.
It may first come as a shock to hear that you no longer have a job, whether with good reason or wrongfully. However, you must see your dismissal not as a loss but as an opportunity to find greener pastures and grow in your career. In the meantime, while you are job hunting, there are tons of practical side hustles to generate an income.