If you have been fired for reasons that you think may be unlawful, you should consult an attorney to find out if you have any legal basis to file suit against your former company. Don’t go for the high-profile lawyer who defends criminals; look for a well established labor-issues lawyer. The more your attorney is in the know about the different laws, rules, regulations and Congressional acts that relate to protecting the employee (more are in place to protect the employer, but you already guessed that), the better your chances.
When you first meet the lawyer, you will have an initial interview. By the time this initial interview is over and you are on your way out of the attorney’s office, you should know a selection of vitally important information. For one thing, you should know what your rights are regarding your being fired. You should also know just how much confidence the attorney has that you can win your suit either throughout settlement, arbitration or going to court.
Speaking of those options, you should know what your options are for approaching the legal system with your complaint. The attorney needs to let you know what action can be undertaken to deal with your situation. The attorney should also let you know what your objectives need to be. In other words, if you are filing a lawsuit more to get public revenge than to get a certain dollar amount, you need to let the attorney know that and he in turn will let you know if he’s up to the job of vengeance. Just be prepared to give up a lot of cash in return for wreaking public revenge. And that is the final element that you should take from the initial meeting: what are the attorney’s legal fees, how are they disbursed and how much of your monetary gain from your lawsuit will go to you and how much will go to the law firm.
Most cases of illegal firing never make it to a courtroom. The overwhelming number of unlawful firing cases are settled well away from a judge and jury. Listen to your lawyer and take his advice unless you are got-dang set on taking that former employer to court for the purpose of embarrassment or just to get the truth out. If neither of those contingencies are at stake, then allow your lawyer to settle an unlawful firing out of court. You will probably get far more than you would if the thing went before a jury because court appearances are going to up your legal fees. In a great many cases, all that has to happen is for your lawyer to send a letter of negotiation to the employer. Most companies would rather you just go away and will quickly move to settle. Again, unless you are out for revenge, let the lawyer decide on how long to negotiate a settlement. Only a fool takes the first offer, right? Well, not necessarily. If you are on familiar terms with how your former employer has handled employee complaints in the past, you may not want to put the negotiation process into play. If they make a solid offer that is more than you expected, grab it if you must.