It may go without saying, but being fired from a job can be a demoralizing experience. Most of us believe that we are capable of doing a good job for an employer despite personality conflicts or mistakes that may have been made. For some, being let go could be the start of a professional reboot. After all, what doesn’t kill you can make you stronger, as the old adage says.

Regardless of your feelings about the situation, having written confirmation of your termination is an important step that is often overlooked.  Depending on the circumstances, the termination letter may serve as the legal basis for a wrongful termination lawsuit. Indeed, at will employees may be fired for any reason, as long as it is not an illegal reason.

As such, this post will highlight what should be in a termination letter, and how one could lead to legal action. 

Documentation of what went wrong – A termination letter is supposed to detail the actual reasons why you were fired. If the letter suggests that you were let go because you exercised a legal right, such as taking allowed time off, or reporting safety violations, you may have an opportunity to fight for your rights.

Chances to dispute what’s in the letter – If there are factually untrue statements in the letter that the employer relied upon in firing you, there could be an opportunity to hold your former employer accountable for libelous statements.

Confirmation of a termination date – If you need unemployment benefits while you find another job, your termination letter can confirm the actual date of your eligibility.

If you have additional questions about termination letters, an experienced employment law attorney can advise you.