Get Your Facts Together: Proving Your Wrongful Termination Case
Since Florida is an “at will” state, employees may be fired at any time with the exception of situations involving discrimination, whistleblowing, a wage dispute or dispute over unpaid overtime, breach of employment contract, or time off sanctioned by law.
The Florida Civil Rights Act lists “protected classes” from termination, but the burden of proof in establishing discrimination and wrongful termination falls on the employee. That’s why it’s important if you believe your company is treating you unfairly, that you begin documenting these events as soon as possible.
Am I in a “Protected Classes”?
Employers cannot discriminate against an employee or job candidate based on:
- Sexual orientation
- Marital status
- Age (if over 40
- Race, color, national origin
- Military service
- Gender identity (such as a transgendered individual)
If you feel any of the above reasons led to discrimination and losing your job, or any other adverse employment actions, you may have a case for wrongful termination.
What Do I Do if I Think I’ve been Wrongfully Terminated?
If you feel you’ve been fired due to discrimination, or one of the others reasons mentioned above, the first thing to do is organize your proof. The documentation will not only help the attorney should a wrongful termination case be filed, but it will help you recall the details of the events as well.
Gather up documentation on:
Begin by organizing any written contracts or oral promises you were given about your job, promotions, achievements, and/or assurances you had a bright future with the company. These can include contracts, emails, positive performance reviews, and written accounts of conversations between you and management. These accounts should be as detailed as possible and include dates and others present during the conversation(s).
Adverse Employment Actions
An adverse employment action may include being terminated, passed over for a project or promotion, being refused an interview, and any other action on behalf of your employer that negatively affects your employment/job. Withholding wages or transferring you to a different department without paying out commission are also examples of adverse employment actions. List such occurrences by date in a journal or file.
If you were legally protected due to a current investigation such as a wage and hours dispute or whistleblowing situation, or you had filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, and then suffered an “adverse employment action” make note of the details, including any paperwork or filings associated with the investigation(s).
If your employer-led you to believe something like weekend work was not required and now insists you work every weekend, make notes of the discrepancies preferably through documented paperwork from the employer. If you don’t have paperwork, recount the conversations and document them in writing to the best of your ability.
Consult an Employment Attorney
Once you have your documentation, contact Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A. to schedule your free consultation at 813-579-2483. We can help you sort out the details of your case and answer any questions on your employment rights.