How to File a Claim for Wrongful Termination

Person handing another person a contract and a pen to sign


Wrongful termination cases are on the rise, with a noted uptick during the COVID-19 pandemic and continued traction over the last few years. Many employees point to a lack of sufficient training and misleading job interviews or descriptions as reasons why they were let from their job.

If you believe you were wrongfully terminated from your job, you may have legal options available to you, but first, it’s important to understand what the process will look like if you decide to file a wrongful termination claim.


Step 1: Determine If You Have A Valid Wrongful Termination Claim

Not all terminations are wrongful. To have a valid claim, you must have been terminated for reasons that violate state or federal law. For example, if you were fired due to your race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation, you may have a valid claim for wrongful termination. Other reasons that could lead to a wrongful termination claim include retaliation for reporting illegal activity, taking protected leave, or refusing to engage in illegal activities.


Step 2: Gather Evidence

If you want your claim to be successful, you must have clear evidence that your termination was wrongful. This may include emails, documents, or witness testimony that demonstrate the reason for your termination. It is important to keep copies of any relevant documentation, including your employment contract, performance reviews, and any communications with your employer about your termination.


Step 3: Consult With An Attorney

Filing a claim for wrongful termination can be complex, and the laws governing employment vary by state. It is important to consult with an experienced employment attorney who can advise you on your legal options and help you navigate the process. An attorney can also help you understand the types of damages that may be available to you, as well as the potential outcomes of your case.


Step 4: Determine if You Need to File a Complaint With The Appropriate Agency

Before filing a lawsuit, you may need to file a complaint with the appropriate government agency. The agency will investigate your claim and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support your allegations. In some cases, the agency may attempt to mediate a settlement between you and your employer.

The agency you file your complaint with will depend on the nature of your claim. For example, if you were terminated due to discrimination, you may need to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or a state agency that handles discrimination claims. If you were terminated for engaging in protected activity, such as reporting safety violations or illegal activity, you may need to file a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or a state agency that handles whistleblower claims.


Step 5: Consider Filing A Lawsuit

If the agency is unable to reach a settlement with your employer, you may need to file a lawsuit.

It is important to note that the process of filing a lawsuit can be lengthy and expensive. However, if you have a strong case and are able to obtain a favorable outcome, you may be able to recover damages such as lost wages, emotional distress, and even punitive damages, depending on your case.


Contact an Employment Lawyer

If you believe you have a wrongful termination case, find an employment lawyer with experience in wrongful termination cases. These cases can be complicated, so it’s vital that you engage an attorney who has navigated these types of claims before.

The McGonigle Law team has extensive experience with wrongful termination cases. For example, our team secured a $3.5 million arbitration award in a wrongful termination action.


If you have questions about your situation, reach out to our team today.


The information contained herein is for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.


“When Tim and his staff took on my case, they had hurdles created by former counsel to overcome. Even with all that was working against us, Tim and his staff used their considerable gifts and skills to successfully resolve the case.“

Mary E.

  • Top Verdict
  • American Board Of Trial Advocates
  • America’s Top 100 Bet-The-Company Litigators
  • Top 100 Verdicts
  • Super Lawyers
  • AV Preeminent