After being fired, emotions run high. Most of us naturally feel despair, anger, confusion, and other intense feelings in the wake of a firing, and the situation is even worse if you’ve been wrongfully terminated. Your first move should be to get a wrongful termination lawyer; your second should be to round up the information your lawyer will need to defend your rights.
Ask a Wrongful Termination Lawyer: What Information Should You Provide Your Lawyer?
Your Personnel File
In order to prove that your termination was unlawful, your lawyer will need to prove that your behavior as an employee did not justify the termination. This requires building a solid picture of your performance over time. Your personnel file will show things like your performance evaluations, any disciplinary actions or warnings you have been given, and, more.
Your Diary or Journal
Skilled wrongful termination law firms in Kansas City will always advise you to keep a diary or journey if you’re experiencing harassment or discrimination. The goal is to establish a pattern of conduct, and journals are far more reliable than simple memory.
We remember things more accurately when we write them down just after they happen: if we try to remember the details weeks or even months later, things get fuzzy. If you haven’t started a journal of your experiences yet, it’s important to start keeping one now. Be sure to include the date and time of any event, who was present, what was said or done, and where the incident took place.
Your lawyer will use your wage records to establish how much financial loss you have suffered because of your wrongful termination. If you haven’t been terminated but have had your hours reduced, your pay records will show what you’ve lost. If you don’t have these records, your employer will, and your lawyer will be able to access them once you begin your wrongful termination proceedings.
Many employers have written company policies and handbooks for their employees. These should not only list employee responsibilities and requirements but also the company’s policies about harassment or discrimination. If you have a copy of an employee handbook, be sure to bring it to your lawyer.
Therapy and Other Mental Health Records
If you have had to get counseling or therapy in response to your employer’s actions, be sure to bring these records to your attorney. Your damages should include payment for these bills and may also help to show your state of mind and what you’ve suffered.
In some cases, victims may not have any physical evidence of the discrimination or harassment they’ve been subjected to, but in many cases, they do. If, for example, another employee sent you lewd photos, you should bring these to your lawyers, as tempting as it might be to get rid of them as soon as possible. You should also keep any written threats that have been made against you, any promises of quid pro quo for sexual favors, after-hours harassing messages, or any inappropriate memos.
If you’ve been in communication with your employer, particularly HR or a manager in the wake of a complaint, keep all these records and hand them over to your attorney.
In some cases, discrimination or harassment can cause a person to develop a medical condition or exacerbate an existing one, like high blood pressure. It may be very difficult to prove these have been directly caused by your wrongful termination, but you should talk with your lawyer anyway, just in case.
If someone was present to witness an act of discrimination or harassment against you, be sure to give your lawyer their contact information. This makes it easy for your attorney to track down the witness, saving time and money and speeding along your case.
Contracts and Timesheets
If you have any contract or agreement with your employer in writing, be sure to bring a copy of this to your lawyer. The same is true of any timesheets you may have filled out or anything like a travel log. If you signed any forms when you were hired, or your employer asked you to sign any when you were fired, be sure to get copies of those to your lawyer if you have them.
Police or Accident Reports
If your termination was related to an accident at work or an incident where the police were called, copies of these reports will also help your lawyer defend you well.
When you meet with your lawyer for the first time, expect to discuss your experience and expectations, costs, and a discussion of the legal facts that are relevant to your case. It’s always smart to be 100% open and honest with your attorney so they can get you the best settlement as quickly as possible.