Filing a Wrongful Termination Claim in Washington DC
If you are thinking about filing a wrongful termination claim in Washington DC, there are several factors to keep in mind, such as the deadline for filing a claim which varies depending on the type of claim. It is crucial to understand which deadlines apply in your situation, because you may lose the right to file a claim once a deadline has passed.
It is also essential to act promptly to collect evidence to support your claim. Fortunately, a skilled wrongful termination attorney could assist you with gathering evidence and preparing it for use in private negotiations or in court arguments.
Wrongful Discharge Claims
Washington DC courts recognize a legal action referred to as a wrongful discharge claim. If an employer terminates your employment as retaliation for engaging in legally protected conduct, you may sue for damages and other relief.
You must establish three qualifying elements to bring a claim, the first of which is that a true employer/employee relationship existed between the parties. An independent contractor relationship, for example, would not be sufficient. The second requirement involves showing that you experienced an adverse employment action, which can be satisfied by the termination of employment.
Finally, to recover for wrongful discharge, you must prove that “protected conduct” was the motivating factor behind your employer’s decision to terminate employment. This third factor typically causes the greatest challenge for employees filing a wrongful termination claim in Washington DC.
Certain actions taken by employees are considered “protected” because they serve public policy interests. Laws prevent employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees for engaging in these protected activities, which include actions such as:
- Cooperating with government investigators
- Speaking out against discrimination
- Taking family leave
- Whistle-blowing perceived illegal practices
- Refusing to participate in fraudulent activities
- Seeking workers’ compensation benefits or unpaid wages
If you suspect unlawful termination, you should keep records of statements made by your employer in connection with these activities as well as in connection with your termination. This information could be used as evidence when filing a wrongful termination claim in Washington DC.
Filing a Claim with the EEOC
If you believe you were wrongfully terminated because of your race, religion, nationality, color, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, or genetic information, you may file a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In many situations, an employee must file an EEOC claim before filing a lawsuit alleging job discrimination.
The deadline for filing this claim varies depending on the situation, but it can be as soon as six months from the date of termination. An experienced employment lawyer could determine whether an employee filing a wrongful termination claim in Washington DC must also file an EEOC claim.
An Attorney Could Help with Filing a Wrongful Termination Claim in Washington DC
Employment laws allow employers to fire employees legally for many reasons, or even without a reason in some cases. However, termination may qualify as illegal retaliation for exercising a practice protected by law in some situations, in which case an employer may be held liable for wrongful termination.
Filing a wrongful termination claim in Washington DC could result in injunctive relief such as reinstatement in a position. If you suffered wrongful termination, you might also be entitled to monetary compensation for lost wages, lost benefits, and other factors such as emotional distress. For more information about available options and procedures for pursuing your claim, consult with a knowledgeable attorney today.