How Do You Prove Wrongful Termination?
A claim for wrongful termination requires you to prove that you were terminated in violation of California law. As discussed further on our wrongful termination page, not all terminations in California are illegal because of California’s “at-will” doctrine. On the other hand, this doctrine does not mean that no rules apply. Do not rely on the internet alone. Speak to a wrongful termination attorney to determine whether you have a wrongful termination claim. Moreover, you may have multiple grounds for relief that you are unaware of. One wrongful act may violate several laws and allow you to pursue multiple avenues to obtain relief.
Once it is determined that you have a claim, below is some evidence that you may need to prove it. It is never too early to begin your due diligence. If your termination is imminent, contact us for help before you are fired. We will help you identify additional evidence tailored to your situation.
Record, Maintain, and Gather Documents and Communications
Were you wrongfully terminated because you reported sexual harassment? Or, is this a wrongful termination case due to employer’s refusal to resolve a hostile racial work environment or provide medical accommodations? The type of evidence you will need depends on the type of wrongful termination case you have.
Evidence can be in the form of your testimony, witness statements, “me too” victims, documents, communications, and recordings. Evidence of a particular pattern, practice, and policy may also be relevant.
Show that Your Employer Engaged in Illegal Activity
Take photographs of workplace safety issues. Keep and gather records of other employees being injured or forced to work in an unsafe work environment despite complaining. Examples of favorable treatment on the basis of race, gender, and other characteristics is also relevant. Are you required to meet higher benchmarks than your male counterparts? Are promotions readily given to non-African American employees, while you are consistently denied despite your accolades and qualifications? Is there a bro-culture at work that creates a hostile work environment for women and/or promotes sexual harassment? Document, photograph, record indicators of illegal activities at work that may directly and/or circumstantially prove your claims.
Document Your Complaints
An employer is required to treat all types of complaints seriously regardless of whether they are verbal or in written form. However, while many feel more comfortable speaking about their concerns, employers often deny ever receiving notice of an illegal workplace environment or diminish verbal conversations as “informal” complaints less deserving of fair treatment. We encourage employees to report issues in writing and keep copies of related emails and follow-ups so that there is no room for an employer to deny its obligation to take immediate remedial measures.
How You Were Treated Before Versus After a Triggering Event
In some cases, there is a triggering event. For example, perhaps you noticed that after your employer found out that you had a disability and/or needed a medical accommodation, you are no longer assigned to coveted projects. Other evidence of disparate treatment may include your employer subjecting you to increased scrutiny after you complained or punishing you for otherwise non-actionable conduct.
Evidence that Your Employer’s Stated Reasons for Termination are False and/or a Pretext for Illegal Motives is Also Relevant
Employers often use the “offense is the best defense” tactic. Often times, an employee is under siege due to a coordinated effort between Human Resources and supervisors. Employers try to legitimize wrongful terminations by building a paper trail fraught with undeserved criticisms. Keep records of good performance, which may include performance reviews, bonuses, awards, promotions, and/or emails thanking you for doing a good job.
Seek Out Witnesses
Chances are you are not the only one. There may be co-workers who are going through the same abuse and/or know of other victims or witnesses. Seek out support and talk to your co-workers who may be willing to vent and confide in you because you have common ground. Former co-workers are also a resource of for information.
Records of Damages You Suffered
You also have to prove that you suffered damages as a result of the wrongful termination. Relevant evidence includes your efforts to seek treatment (to the extent you can afford it) for depression, anxiety, hopelessness, or other manifestations of emotional distress.
These are just some examples of evidence that may help you prove your wrongful termination case. We remain available to help you build your case and validate your truth. Speak to a wrongful termination attorney today. You will gain an effective partner and advocate that will give you the resources and confidence to obtain full justice.
Why Trust Employee Rights Attorney Group?
Most, if not all, the people that we had the privilege of helping have been professionals who have never pursued a lawsuit or ever thought they would ever be in such a situation. Our goal is to provide personalized representation and to remain responsive and supportive throughout the process.