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Gathering Documentation When You've Been Fired

Being let go from a job is upsetting for anyone. But when you believe you were wrongfully let go, it's even harder to deal with the feelings of confusion and anger.

If you believe you've been wrongfully terminated, there is something you can do about it. Here are several steps you can take to have your termination fully investigated.

  • Keep a paper trail. Create a record of your employment, including raises, promotions, reprimands, and anything else related to performance. Ask for your personnel file and make a copy of it. If you think you may need your own copies for legal purposes later, mail yourself the file by certified mail.
  • Get a written explanation. Ask your employer for a written explanation for your termination.
  • Request a service letter. Some states have laws that require employers to provide former employees with letters that describe their terms of employment, including pay, work history, and reason for termination. This request needs to be made within a day or two of dismissal. If your state does not have laws requiring service letters, you can write a letter of understanding, requesting confirmation of why you were terminated. Keep the letter brief and professional, and give a deadline for a response.
  • Keep everything you receive from other sources. You will get more documentation from your termination as you do things like file for unemployment. Keep all of these things together in a safe place.

Once you've moved on from your job, be careful how you field questions about your former employer. Keep your answers brief, professional, and positive.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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