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.