Proving Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy: Gathering Evidence for a Strong Case
Wrongful termination in violation of public policy occurs when an employer unlawfully terminates an employee for reasons that contravene fundamental public policy principles. To establish a strong case of wrongful termination, it is crucial to gather compelling evidence that supports the claim and demonstrates the employer’s violation of public policy. In this article, we will explore the importance of gathering evidence, key types of evidence to consider, and strategies for building a robust case when alleging wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
Understanding the Burden of Proof
In a wrongful termination case, the burden of proof falls on the employee to demonstrate that the termination was unlawful and in violation of public policy. To meet this burden, it is essential to gather evidence that supports the claim and establishes a connection between the termination and the violation of public policy.
Documenting Protected Activities
One of the most critical pieces of evidence in a wrongful termination case is documentation of the employee’s protected activities. This includes records of complaints filed, reports made, participation in legal proceedings, or any other actions taken to uphold public policy principles. Keep copies of emails, memos, or any written communication that demonstrates the employee’s engagement in these protected activities.
Performance Reviews and Evaluations
Performance reviews and evaluations can be valuable evidence in a wrongful termination case. If the employee consistently received positive reviews prior to engaging in protected activities and suddenly received negative evaluations thereafter, it may indicate that the termination was retaliatory. Collect past performance reviews, as well as any subsequent evaluations that show a significant shift in the employer’s perception of the employee’s performance.
Employment Contracts and Company Policies
Reviewing employment contracts, company policies, and employee handbooks can provide essential evidence in a wrongful termination case. Look for any provisions that guarantee certain rights or protections, such as non-retaliation policies, whistleblower protections, or anti-discrimination policies. These documents can help establish the employer’s obligations and provide a basis for demonstrating the violation of public policy.
Witnesses and Testimonies
Witnesses can play a crucial role in substantiating a wrongful termination claim. Identify and gather statements from colleagues, supervisors, or other employees who can testify to the employer’s actions or statements that support the violation of public policy or retaliation. Written statements, affidavits, or recorded testimonies can strengthen the case by providing firsthand accounts of the events leading to the termination.
Pattern of Retaliation or Discrimination
If the employee can demonstrate a pattern of retaliation or discrimination by the employer, it can significantly bolster the case. Gather evidence of other instances where the employer retaliated against employees for engaging in protected activities or discriminated based on protected characteristics. This evidence can establish a broader pattern of behavior that supports the employee’s claim of wrongful termination.
Correspondence and Communication
Save copies of any correspondence, including emails, letters, or memos, that may demonstrate the employer’s retaliatory or discriminatory behavior. Look for any statements or remarks that indicate the employer’s intent to terminate the employee based on their engagement in protected activities or protected characteristics. Such evidence can provide critical insights into the employer’s motives.
Consultation with Employment Law Attorneys
Seeking legal counsel from experienced employment law attorneys is crucial when gathering evidence for a wrongful termination case. Attorneys can guide employees through the process, help identify relevant evidence, and advise on the best strategies to strengthen their case. Their expertise can significantly enhance the chances of success in proving wrongful termination in violation of public policy.
Gathering compelling evidence is paramount in establishing a strong case of wrongful termination in violation of public policy. Documenting protected activities, collecting performance reviews, reviewing employment contracts and company policies, securing witness testimonies, highlighting patterns of retaliation or discrimination, and preserving correspondence and communication can all strengthen the evidence base. Additionally, consulting with employment law attorneys is essential for ensuring a thorough and effective approach to gathering evidence and building a robust case. By diligently collecting and presenting compelling evidence, employees can assert their rights and seek appropriate remedies for wrongful termination in violation of public policy.