If you have been fired from your job, you have probably considered suing your employer. You may be wondering if you have a case and how to proceed with a lawsuit if you do. There are a few things you should know about employment litigation before you begin.
Definition of Employment Litigation
Employment litigation is defined as a lawsuit by an employee against an employer due to a job-related issue. Such a suit is filed when an employee has experienced discrimination or unfair treatment at work.
How Employment Litigation Works
If you have come up against mistreatment at work or if you have been unfairly fired, the first thing you will want to take into consideration is why you believe your employer singled you out. You then must determine if it is grounds for a complaint to a government agency or a lawsuit.
Were You Discriminated Against?
If you believe your employer has fired you due to your age, race, sex, religion, disability or genetic information. You should file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission – Civil Rights Division or the EEOC. The two agencies have a work-sharing program. In order to file a complaint via the TWC, the company you worked for must have an address in Texas and must have at least 15 employees. If you have been discriminated against because of your age, the company must have 20 or more employees. The discrimination must have taken place within 180 days of the complaint. You must also have been demoted, denied a promotion or fired due to the discrimination. Once you have filed a complaint with them they will interview you and your ex-employer.
Both offices offer a mediation option. A mediator will be appointed to talk to both you and your ex-employer to see if you can come to an agreement without going to court. If neither of you wants mediation, or the mediation fails, your claim will be investigated. After 180 days they will send you a right to sue or letter of dismissal in the mail. You will only have 90 days to sue after receiving the letter.
Do You Have a Wage Dispute?
Because of the Texas payday law, exempt employees must be paid at least once a month and non-exempt employees must be paid at least twice a month. However, if your employer fails to pay you, the law does not provide for penalties. If you have not been paid by your employer for work that you did, you should first write them a letter asking for the money. If they do not respond you can file a complaint with the labor board or sue them in small claims court. If they owe you a significant amount of money, you may want to hire a lawyer.
Other Grounds for a Wrongful Termination Lawsuit
Texas is an at-will state, meaning that your employer can fire you at any time for any reason and you can quit at any time for any reason. However, if you had a written or implied contract with them, you may be able to sue.
If your employer fired you because you took time off for jury duty, military service, or to vote, they have violated public policy and you may want to consider suing.
The more documentation you can provide of wrongful termination the better. Records of promotion, demotion, monthly bonuses, and work reviews are very important.
All wrongful termination cases are complex and will require the assistance of an experienced employment attorney. Click here for more information.