If you have been fired and you believe you have grounds to get compensation from your employer due to an illegal action against you, here are some things you should do to protect your case:
Gather your benefit plan documentation: If you have a benefit plan, communicate with HR and request a copy. According to federal law, your employer should be able to hand them to you without any obstacles. Unfortunately, employers or administrators sometimes don’t take this into account and refuse to hand in the documents. If this happens, this can play in your favor when building your case.
Don’t sign anything: You may be offered compensation. Be careful because the document may include certain conditions such as “If you sign this, we will give you a certain amount of money, and you will give up your right to sue or present any case against the company.” With the help of a lawyer and after some negotiations, you may get better compensation and a more favorable agreement (which may include a positive reference, for example).
Don’t use violence: Employers may avoid responsibility for firing you illegally if they find grounds to do so even after you were laid off. For example, destroying company property or becoming violent towards other employees are grounds for firing you.
Don’t take anything from the office: This includes confidential documents or anything that belongs to the company. You are allowed to download your own emails and chat history if they are relevant to your case. However, when it comes to confidential information, let your lawyer know what and where it is so that they can request them as evidence.
Go to your doctors: if you are experiencing adverse effects regarding your health because of stress caused by being fired, you can go to a doctor or therapist to seek their opinion. This can help you and help your case. Emotional distress can be part of employment cases.
Beware of who you share information with: Think twice before sharing information about your case with an ex-coworker. Any sensitive information such as “I will sue the company/administrator/owner.” It’s never clear how people will react or who they will talk to after.