Your first steps after a wrongful termination

Losing a job can make life difficult for both a worker and their family. Employers who fire workers for illegal reasons are trampling the rights of employees who put in hard work at their jobs. Creating a plan for life after your wrongful termination will let you protect your rights. We will go over five steps that you can take after your illegal firing.

Five actions people can take after an illegal firing

Arizona is an at-will state which means that employers can fire a worker for any reason or for no reason at all. Even with this at-will designation, employers in Arizona can wrongfully terminate employees. Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires a worker for an illegal reason, such as racial discrimination. If an employer fired you for an illegal reason, then you may be able to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Here are five steps you can take after a wrongful termination:

  • Collect your last paycheck: Employers in Arizona must give workers their final paycheck within seven working days or at the next scheduled payday, whichever is first. If your employer refuses to pay you, then you should contact an employment attorney.
  • Document everything: If your employer fired you illegally, you should keep a record of events and related personnel files. You should begin collecting relevant documents if you suspect that your employer will wrongfully terminate you.
  • Review handbooks and employment contracts: Employees who have an employment contract may have special terms for their dismissal. Employers who fail to uphold their side of an employment contract can have a claim brought against them.
  • Check health insurance options: Terminated employees who worked for a company with more than 20 employees qualify for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA lets employees continue their company's health benefits as long as they pay the premium.
  • Contact an attorney: Understanding the complex laws around wrongful termination can be difficult without a lawyer. A legal advocate can answer your questions and help you file a claim with the EEOC.

By following these steps you can hopefully lessen the impact of your wrongful termination. There are time limits for filing a wrongful termination claim, so taking immediate legal action can benefit you and your family.

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Elizabeth D. Tate, Attorney at Law
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