Has Anyone Ever Been a Part of And/or Won a Wrongful Termination Case?

Updated on January 30, 2011
O.L. asks from Long Beach, CA
10 answers

Just wondering if anyone has been wrongfully terminated from a job? If so, did you hire an attorney? What was your experience like? Did you win the case? How hard is it to prove that you've been wrongfully terminated?

Thanks for sharing!

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answers from San Diego on

i was six months pregnant and was laid off a week after my evaluation that i was doing so great, getting a raise, getting full time instead of part time, etc etc, they just told me i was no longer needed, when my position was clearly open for a newbie that came along. and i filed a complaint with EEOC

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answers from Minneapolis on

My fiance was fired for asking about the safety a job they were doing (metal framing on top of a building in 40-50 mph winds). They denied unemployment when he filed for it and he waited for his "day in court" -- it's really just a 3 way phone call with a judge, him and the company. The paperwork he received stated he'd been offered his job back which he never had. The judge let him tell his side and then the company told theirs -- apparently he was just mouthy and walked off. The judge then asked questions to see who told the truth and the company messed up and that showed the answers they submitted were false. We won but it took over 3 months to get to court and finally start getting paychecks.

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answers from Glens Falls on

I'm not sure what the laws are like in California (assuming that you are filing in state court) but I used to be in HR and from my experience on the company's side, I would say it's pretty hard to establish wrongful termination. Even for individuals in a protected class, they have to establish that the termination was because of their age, race, gender, religion, national origin, disability (there is some variance in what is considered "protected" in different states). If your direct supervisor is the same gender as you, pretty difficult to show it was your gender. If other people younger than you have been let go, especially around the same time, pretty hard to establish it was your age, etc. This actually takes pretty careful record keeping of things that are said to you and actions taken. And the company is usually pretty well versed in the potential that someone may be documenting so HR is likely monitoring that every thing is done by the book. If you are trying to establish that you had a contractual promise for employment, you'll need a lot of documentation, dates and times. I will say that we settled a couple FMLA cases where what they were looking for was pretty small in comparison to legal costs (like a couple thousand) but other than that, the company never lost. Don't mean to sound discouraging because I know personally what it's like to be treated unfairly at work and how traumatic and painful it can be, but really the laws aren't very protective for employees beyond very basic rights to not be discriminated against.

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answers from San Diego on

If you are here in California, you should know that California is an at-will state, which means the employer (or the employee) can terminate the employment relationship at any time, for any reason or no reason at all. that being said, there are certain grounds that are deemed "against public policy" and therefore wrongful. The problem is that they are very hard to prove. Unless you already have some decent evidence already, it is going to be hard to find a lawyer to take your case. If you are serious about it, you need to hire an attorney. The employer will not take you seriously on your own. Best of luck to you!



answers from Minneapolis on

I have one friend who was successful in a case like this. He was male and white, so his reasons had nothing to do with discrimination. He was in a job that paid over $100k, so the settlement was quite large.

My ex tried to pursue a similar case with the same lawyer. Nothing ever came of it, even though the HR person had made some serious errors in her handling of his termination. In his case, the company was able to delay, change their story, and delay some more until he gave up the fight.

I would talk with a lawyer or three and get their legal opinion on your chances. Most lawyers will give a free consultation.


answers from Tucson on

Like Heidi said for me it was a 3 way phone call with a judge. I filed for unemployment and my employer tried to deny to it. So i said they fired me wrongfully. Which they did. They had no reason to fire me. They didnt call in for the court date, so i won.



answers from Reno on

My friend was. She was in a finance/collection department and the company was engaging in illegal/unethical practices. She very respectfully offered solutions to correct the practices and was terminated over it. She filed a claim with the state Labor Board and they investigated. It took forever, the company fought the entire time. Nevada being a right to work state, there was no great resolution for her, but she was able get unemployment (they tried several times to deny it), they had to clear her employment record, but she's had a horrible time finding work (they blacklisted her while she was going through the process, even though they denied doing so), etc. Her advice would be to talk to an attorney and depending on your state laws, go to the labor board if you have a claim they consider valid.



answers from Bakersfield on

I lost my job less than a week before Thanksgiving in 2009. The company I worked for I was with for over 8 years and I loved it till the end. The boss I had didn't like me and we always butted heads. They fired me for a totally bogus claim. When asked if they would fight my unemployment, they said no. Of course, they did. I think the only reason I won was because I had documentation proving my case. Gather any witnesses and paperwork you need for your case. I actually had to see the judge and former boss in person, which was nerve racking but I stayed my ground. Good luck to you!



answers from San Francisco on

You need to think about the cost of such a lawsuit, the time it would take, and how much you could actually receive. Most of the time it's not worth it. Also if future employers find out you sued a previous employer, they will be concerned about hiring you. If there is an equally qualified applicant they would likely take that person. Why take a chance that you will sue them? Most of the time if you balance it all out it's not worth the money, emotions, time, and damage to your reputation. It sucks! But do what's best for you in the long run.



answers from Seattle on

My sister was. She was fired for something that happened (someone broke into the office and stole files) while she was on VACATION out of the country. Absolutely no hint of her involvement. The company isn't claiming that. They're just claiming that it shouldn't be the person who was subbing for her that was fired over the incident.

2 years later and it's still in court. No idea how it will turn out. One would think it would be pretty cut and dry. On the upside... as soon as the WT papers were filed she became eligible for unemployment. Prior to that, she wasn't since it was for "cause".

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