Wrongful termination, also known as wrongful dismissal, describes a situation where you believe that you have been dismissed from your job without due cause, or against the terms of your contract. Technically, a lawyer will take on your case if the dismissal breaches the conditions specified in your contract of employment, or breaches employment law. A formal written contact of employment is not always necessary as a precondition for disputing a termination.
What are the circumstances of wrongful termination that lawyers would want to see? Examples would be dismissal based on your age, sex, or race, dismissal based on a false accusation of theft or similar, or dismissal without having gone through a due warning process as specified in a contract, usually involving a series of verbal or written warnings. You cannot be dismissed either for refusing to do something illegal, for whistleblowing on your employer, or for taking family or medical leave.
Your goal in disputing your employment termination will be either to receive your job back, or to be awarded compensation of some sort. A lawyer will often be needed, due to the complexity of employment law and because of the tight timeframe within which documents often have to be presented.
So where can you find wrongful termination lawyers? Ideally you will want to engage a lawyer who specializes in wrongful termination, and will have experience in successfully settling such cases.
Thankfully, the web allows you to find such lawyers easily. Here are some of the best resources.
LegalMatch is a service which helps to match clients with a lawyer with particular expertise; it is also worth reading their information about wrongful termination and constructive discharge.
The National Employment Lawyers Association is a group of lawyers who can represent employees in cases of employment discrimination and wrongful termination. Check their ‘Find a Lawyer’ facility for a lawyer in your state.
Another way to get information about the top wrongful termination lawyers is to look at online forums and blogs where people who have been terminated from their job and who are in a similar situation to you will post their experiences. For example, in the Yahoo Answers site dozens of questions about wrongful dismissal and wrongful termination cases are answered, both in the Employment section and in the Law and Ethics section. Questions answered include things like ‘I’ve been wrongfully dismissed – what are my rights?’, and ‘What does a plaintiff have to prove to be successful in a wrongful dismissal action?’
For further background on your legal options after being fired, see ‘Seeking Relief for Wrongful Termination’ at About.com, which recommends you find a lawyer who will not take fees up front, but who makes fees contingent on actually winning your employment case.