February 16, 2022
How Do You Prove Wrongful Termination?
Wrongful termination means a person gets fired in a way that violates their rights or the law. Sometimes, it can be difficult to identify when wrongful termination occurs, and it can be even more challenging to prove it. The success or failure of a wrongful termination case often hinges on the ability of the former employee to prove that the reason the employer stated for firing them is fabricated, and the right lawyer can help with this.
Every state except Montana allows employers to fire at-will employees any time without reason, but even at-will employees cannot be fired for reasons that violate employment laws or public policy. If you are one of the following, you are likely not an at-will employee, which is important to your case:
- Union members
- Civil service employees (those with government jobs)
- Workers with employment contracts (even unwritten ones), such as a law firm partner or a tenured professor
At-will employment does not give your employer the right to fire you for wrongful reasons.
Ways to Prove Wrongful Termination
The first thing you should do if you feel you’ve been wrongfully terminated is write down everything you remember leading up to and during your termination. Be as detailed as possible and include direct quotes, times, and dates. Your written account is most compelling if it is written soon after being terminated when the details are fresh. Diary entries, text messages, emails, and so on are often admissible in court.
Some of the evidence you’ll want to gather before consulting with a wrongful termination attorney include:
- Again, a detailed written account with a timeline of what happened when you were fired (diary entries, emails, and text messages are admissible in court)
- Employment contracts, if applicable
- The company’s employee handbook
- Performance evaluations
- Inter-office memos
- Pay stubs
- Statements from your co-workers (eyewitness testimony)
- Any other emails, texts, or diary entries you have that may be relevant (If you wrote the day before you were fired that you felt you were being set up to look like you misplaced a legal brief, for example)
- Anything else you can think of to prove your case (For example, proof of other minority groups being fired by the firm)
What Can Be Used as Evidence of Wrongful Termination?
Anything that is admissible in court can be used in a wrongful termination suit. Legally obtained evidence that may not necessarily be admissible in court may still be effective in trying to reach a settlement. These things can not be used in court:
- Hearsay evidence
- Privileged evidence
- Irrelevant evidence
- Character evidence
- Unfairly prejudicial evidence
Evidence rules are complicated, but your lawyer will review possible evidence to build the strongest case possible to prove wrongful termination in your situation.
Consult with New Jersey Wrongful Termination Lawyers
Varcadipane & Pinnisi are serious lawyers for serious wrongful termination cases. We are tough and experienced New Jersey employment lawyers eager to help you prove your wrongful termination case. Set up a free consultation today.