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How Do I Prove Wrongful Termination?

May 14, 2019 Published in Workers' Compensation

You might be the victim of wrongful termination if your boss fired you from a job for illegal reasons. Although Illinois is an at-will employment state (meaning employers can fire employees for any reason or not reason at all), it is still against the law to terminate an employee’s relationship with a company because of discrimination or retaliation. If you believe you have a wrongful termination case, use an attorney to help you prove your claim in court.

Document Your Experience

Write everything down as it happens. Keep a journal dedicated only to your wrongful termination case. Record the circumstances of your job termination, what your employer said, a timeline of events, and copies of all termination paperwork. Document your situation in as much detail as possible. Write down who was present, what each person said, and your impression of the event. Document your experience right away, while it is still fresh in your mind.

Keep track of everything related to your job: emails, paperwork, notices, and other official communications, such as reprimands or promotions. Save documents onto your computer or print them out for your records. Store copies of all information at home so you have easy access to everything. Keep all pay stubs and financial records relating to your job. This can help you establish your lost wages during a wrongful termination claim.

Learn About Your Employment

Next, find out if Illinois’ at-will employment laws apply to you. Some exceptions exist to the general rule. If you have a written contract that offers job security with your employer, you are not an at-will employee. Your employer will instead need to follow the rules of the employment handbook to terminate your relationship. Find your employee handbook or work contract and read the fine print. If it states your employer can only terminate you for certain reasons, you may have a wrongful termination claim. Keep any letters, guidebooks, or contracts that promise you continued employment.

You may not need exact proof of a written contract for the law to exclude you from at-will employment. An implied employment contract, such as emails between you and your boss that led you to believe you had job security, could suffice as evidence. If your employer ever made you a promise of continued employment, even unofficially, the rules of at-will employment may not apply to you. An attorney can look at how long you worked for the company, any job promotions or positive performance reviews, and whether your employer violated a law in firing you to determine the role of at-will employment laws in your case.

Collect Evidence of Wrongdoing

If you are basing your wrongful termination claim on discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, collect evidence that supports your experience. Document your examples of discrimination or harassment at work. Get the names of anyone who witnessed the incidents. If you spoke to your Human Resources department about the issue, keep a record of who you talked to and what they did after you reported the problem. If you went to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission with an official complaint, get copies of your file.

Hire a Wrongful Termination Attorney

Proving wrongful termination in Illinois will take demonstrating that your employer breached a contract, broke a law, or otherwise fired you based on illegal reasons. You will need sufficient evidence to support your claim, such as witness testimonies or documentation of your experience. A lawyer can help you with your burden of proof during a wrongful termination claim. You can work on getting back on your feet while your workers’ compensation attorney handles the complex legal aspects of your case. Hiring an attorney is one of the best ways to prove your wrongful termination case.