Being let go from your job isn’t an easy situation. You have a lot to worry about, such as how you are going to pay your bills and when you will find a new job. There are moments when you know your times at the company is ending, such as if there are rounds of terminations or layoffs. In other cases, you might not have any idea that you are going to lose your job.
While there are many reasons why a company might fire an employee, not all are legal. Arizona is an at-will employment state, which means that an employer, technically, doesn’t have to provide a reason for the termination. However, this doesn’t provide a loophole for an employer to let an employee go for an illegal reason.
Illegal reasons to fire an employee
Employers can’t terminate employees due to discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
- Discrimination involves taking negative employment actions based on a protected status like race, religion or gender.
- Harassment means belittling, threatening or taking negative action just to a be bully.
- Retaliation occurs when an employer is trying to get back at an employee for a complaint made or similar reasons.
There are many different ways that employers might try to cover up a termination based on an illegal reason. It is often possible to prove that there was something more beneath the surface than what the employer is trying make known.
Tips for handling wrongful termination
One of the most important things to remember when you feel you were wrongfully terminated is to avoid reacting in a negative manner. You shouldn’t threaten the company or speak ill of it. If there is a chance that you are going to take legal action against the company, you don’t need to have outbursts to answer for.
Make sure that you keep a record of what happened at the time of your termination and in the period after. Ensure correct payment on the checks that you receive after termination. If you have an employment contract, review the terms to find out what you are eligible to receive and hold the employer to that.
You might need to obtain a copy of your employment file. Some wrongful termination cases hinge on the employee’s performance. If you can show that you have done your job appropriately and that there wasn’t any reason to terminate you, this might help your case.