There are many reasons why an employee may feel that they are being wrongfully terminated. Texas is an “at-will” employment state, which means that either the employee or employer can terminate or modify the work agreement at any time. The at-will employment status does not protect employers that wrongfully fire employees for illegal reasons such as discrimination, retaliation or harassment.
When an employee feels that they have been wrongfully terminated, it is important to know what to document. Documentation is vitally important when considering your legal options. Evidence of the wrongdoing can come in many forms and documentation is a good place to start.
Documentation to consider
Wrongful termination is more than being fired without cause. Being illegally fired often means there is a reason for the termination, and that reason is illegal. Here are some examples of things to document to help your claim of wrongful termination:
- Proof of employment: Documentation and proof that you were hired and worked for the company
- Value of benefits: Documentation of the value of lost benefits and compensation
- Employment handbook: Copies of any written policies your employer had in place, such as vacation time and sick leave. This includes copies of anything in writing that may have informed you about what benefits and responsibilities are available to you as an employee.
- Disciplinary actions: Documentation and proof of any disciplinary warnings or corrective actions taken against you by your employer before terminating your employment.
- The termination: Write down the date and time of when your termination took place and how you were informed, who told you, and what they said.
- Proof that discrimination or retaliation: Documentation of the way your employer reacted to certain events indicated they were discriminating against you, such as if they were suspicious, hostile or rude toward you after an incident occurred. Any evidence of derogatory remarks made against you by your employer or their representatives.
If discrimination may have been a factor in your termination, such as if it was related to gender, race, religion, disability or age, then it could be a good time to start documenting.
If you’ve recently been fired from your job, it’s important to learn about your rights as an employee. If you believe that your termination is unfair or wrong, the first step is to create a paper trail of evidence.