Anyone who has ever been fired or let go from a place of employment likely feels wronged in some way. The vast majority of employment relationships in the U.S. are at-will, meaning that an employer can choose to dismiss an employee from his or her position at virtually any time and for any reason provided it is valid and does not violate employment laws.
The discretion afforded to employers under an at-will employment arrangement can present certain challenges when attempting to prove that an employee was wrongfully terminated. Despite these challenges, employees who have been terminated due to sexual harassment, discrimination, whistle blowing and union actions would be wise to discuss their case with an attorney.
In cases where an employee believes that he or she was wrongfully terminated, it's wise to take steps to secure information and evidence that may be useful when pursuing legal action. It's wise, therefore to request a written explanation for one’s dismissal, inquire about who made decisions related to one's firing, retain a copy of any employment contract and request a copy of one's personal employee file.
In some cases, rather than pursue legal action, an employee may choose to negotiate a severance package. However, prior to taking any offered severance, it's often a good idea to consult with an attorney who can help determine if taking legal action would be more advantageous.
Even in cases where a dismissed employee does not plan to pursue a wrongful termination claim, an employer may fail to follow through on certain agreed-upon terms related to a severance package, pay, benefits and unemployment eligibility. An attorney who handles employment law matters can also assist a terminated employee is recovering compensation related to these types of issues.
Source: FindLaw.com, "Wrongful Termination Claims," 2015