Wrongful Termination: What to Do Next
For most Arizona employees, a termination tends to leave an employee feeling uncertain about the future. The stresses inherent to being fired are only exacerbated when the firing is unjustified. In legal terms, an unjust firing is referred to as a wrongful termination.
However, Arizona is also an at-will employment state, which simply means that an employee or employer may terminate an employment relationship at any time, with or without cause, for any lawful reason. The key word in the previous sentence, therefore, is "lawful."
When you are fired for an unlawful reason, then you have likely been terminated unjustly. Common examples of wrongful termination include, but are not limited to:
- Termination based on an employee's race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age or disability (as outlined by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964)
- Termination for engaging in lawful activity, such as whistleblowing against company wrongdoing
- Any unjust firing that violates specific federal or Arizona laws
That said, employers will rarely be forthcoming about their reasons for firing if their motivation was indeed unjust and unlawful. As such, here are a few steps Arizona employees should take if there is reason to believe that a job was lost because of wrongful termination.
Stay Calm and Retain a Sense of Composure
It is easier said than done that remaining calm should be the first course of action after a potentially unjust termination. When an employee's sense of justice is grieved after an unexpected and stressful termination, the desire to lash out is understandable.
Even so, retaliating against a termination (even an unjust one) will only provide an employer with evidence that further justifies the termination. Instead of directing your ire at the employer or any company employees, choose the more difficult path of remaining composed and dignified before pursuing further action.
Formally Request the Reason for Termination
Obtaining essential information is a necessary aspect of filing a wrongful termination claim. Arizona plaintiffs can typically receive these documents from a company HR department.
To start, make a formal request to the company HR department, requesting a reason for termination. In addition, be sure to detail your own account of the facts and events leading up to your termination. Meticulous, detailed and consistent written records can play an important role in your legal claim, which is why it is important to gather as much information as possible.
Collect Evidence and Review Important Documents Prior to Writing a Dispute Letter
The information you procure will be of great value to your claim when you speak with an Arizona employment lawyer. Documents and information that may be worth compiling for your case include:
- Text messages
- Phone voicemails
- Handwritten notes
Anything you collect that could be considered evidence in a wrongful termination claim should be thoroughly verified. It is imperative that information presented to an attorney is both authentic and completely accurate.
Relying on this information, you may then write a grievance letter explaining your reasons for believing the termination was unlawful. Citing facts such as violations of an employee handbook policy will strengthen your legal claim.
Given the complexity of making such an argument, it is wise to speak with an Arizona wrongful termination attorney as soon as you have reason to believe that a wrongful termination took place.
Speak to an Arizona Employment Lawyer
If you have been fired because of employment discrimination or any other unlawful reason that constitutes a wrongful termination, our team at Tyler Allen Law Firm, PLLC will protect your legal rights.
Contact us online to discuss your wrongful termination claim with a Phoenix employment lawyer who will review your contract and protect your legal rights as an employee.