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How to File a Wrongful Dismissal Claim

Losing your job is never easy, but when you’ve lost your job unlawfully it can be particularly upsetting.


  • Step 1: Gather your thoughts Gather your thoughts and write a statement describing what led up to your termination. Include all information related to the situation that will support your case, no matter how seemingly trivial.
  • Step 2: Print statement Print, sign, and date two copies of the statement. Keep one copy in a file folder for your records.
  • Step 3: Collect records Collect records of any communications that are related to your termination, including e-mails, memos, written feedback, and even sticky notes.
  • Step 4: Consult a lawyer Consult with a lawyer, who will help you decide whether you have a valid claim.
  • Step 5: Review records Review the records and order them chronologically. Type a dated list itemizing each communication along with a short explanation of how each item is related to the wrongful dismissal claim.
  • TIP: The agency you are filing a claim with may not require you to submit records with your initial claim. However, if an investigation is pursued, this documentation will be very valuable.
  • Step 6: Find correct agency With your lawyer, determine which state or federal agency to file your claim with. This will depend on the nature of your dismissal -- discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
  • TIP: If you are unsure of which agency is best suited to handle your claim, contact your local workforce commission; they will guide you.
  • Step 7: Type and send claim Type your claim and send it to the appropriate agency. Every agency is unique in its requirements, so pay careful attention when submitting the required documentation.
  • TIP: Make sure that you meet the time requirements dictated by the agency with which you are filing. Otherwise, your claim many not be reviewed.
  • Step 8: Follow up Make follow-up calls to the agency, letting them know that you are willing to discuss the termination beyond what is stated in the formal claim.
  • Step 9: Be patient Be patient -- claims take time to review.
  • FACT: Tom Hanks won a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal in the film Philadelphia of Geoffrey Bowers, a lawyer who was unlawfully dismissed for having AIDS.

You Will Need

  • Printed statement of events
  • Records of any related communications
  • Lawyer

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