It doesn’t matter what type of relationship you have with your employer, there could come a point when you’re terminated. While this typically happens for reasons that are 100% legal, such as downsizing or going out of business, that’s not always the case.

If you feel that you’re a victim of wrongful termination, it’s critical to learn more about your legal rights and then take steps to protect them. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Ask questions: Upon receiving word of your termination, ask questions about why it’s happening and if there’s anything you did wrong. If you suspect that your employer doesn’t have a good reason, keep digging for more information. You may need to contact your HR department, as the person who originally told you of your termination may decline to speak with you.
  • Collect evidence: If you have evidence backing up your claim of wrongful termination, keep it nearby in the days and weeks to come. You may be able to use it to your advantage when negotiating with your employer or taking legal action. A common example is an email, text message or voicemail from a supervisor backing up your thoughts that you were wrongfully terminated.
  • Carefully consider any offer from your employer: For example, they may offer you a severance package in exchange for leaving the company and waiving your right to take legal action. Before you accept, it’s critical to understand the finer details and whether you’re getting what you deserve.
  • Don’t resign: Your employer may request that you resign, as opposed to being terminated, but you don’t have to give in and do so. Once again, consider the pros and cons of taking each approach, such as the impact it will have on your ability to receive severance pay.

As a victim of wrongful termination, it’s easy to get down on yourself and wonder what the future holds. But if you do this, it could lead you to make a rash decision that’s not in your best interest.

The best approach is to ask questions, collect additional information, review your employment contract and learn more about your legal rights. This will lead you toward the right course of action.