If You Were Unlawfully Fired: 3 Tips to Hold Your Iowa Employer Accountable

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Posted by Laura Schultes

What constitutes wrongful termination in Iowa? Do you believe you have been unlawfully fired from your job in Iowa? If so you, likely feel angry or upset and want to know how to hold your former employer accountable. Here are 3 ways you can get justice:

1.      Taking legal action sooner rather than later.

There are different types of claims to allege a wrongful termination or being “unlawfully fired” in Iowa. These different claims all have different deadlines.

If you believe your employer discriminated against you based on your membership in a protected class, you may only have 300 days to take legal action following your termination. This deadline likely applies if your termination was motivated by your:

  • Race
  • Sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • National origin

Any claim for an unlawfully fired discrimination cannot just be filed as a lawsuit in state or federal court. You must first file a complaint with either the EEOC or the Iowa Civil Rights Commission.  That complaint must be filed within 300 days of the unlawful discriminatory termination.

Besides unlawful discrimination, there are other types of firings that may be considered unlawful.  Often, those other types of claims have a longer, two-year deadline to take legal action.

Determining which deadline – or deadlines – may apply to your particular situation is not always a straight-forward task. If you think you might have claim for an unlawful termination, you should speak with an experienced Iowa employment law attorney as soon as possible after you’ve been fired.

2.      You can prove you were unlawfully terminated even if your employer doesn’t admit to it.

Too many Iowans do not contact an attorney because they mistakenly believe proving that a termination was unlawful is next to impossible. Very few employers who fire their employees for unlawful reasons admit the true reason for the termination.

Instead, employers will come up with some other reason like poor work performance or too many work absences to hide their illegal conduct.

Just because employers are too savvy to admit their wrongdoing is not the same as saying it’s impossible to prove what they did was illegal.

In almost all employment cases, a skilled employment lawyer can use circumstantial evidence to show what truly motivated an employer to fire someone.

Some examples of this circumstantial evidence include:

  • An otherwise good work history shown through performance evaluations and a lack of prior negative documentation;
  • Establishing that the employer failed to follow its own policies;
  • Gathering evidence to show how you were treated compared to other employees;
  • Gathering behind the scenes emails and other correspondence that may hint at an employer’s true motivations;

There may be other more tangible evidence, like personnel files or employee handbooks, that your lawyer could use to support this circumstantial evidence. This evidence will be collected during the discovery process and could help reveal your employer’s true motivations.

3.      You could recover significant damages for your unlawful termination.

Iowa law recognizes that an unlawful termination causes serious harm. If you successfully prove that your employer’s conduct was truly unlawful, you may be entitled to recover a variety of damages.

Every case is different and the type of recovery you can get depends on what law your employer broke when firing you. Generally, you can recover:

  • Compensation for your economic losses – such as your salary and benefits – that you suffered because of the unlawful termination
  • In some cases, compensation for the emotional distress the unlawful termination caused you,  including embarrassment, anxiety, stress, and other emotional pain and suffering
  • In some cases, reimbursement for attorneys’ fees and litigation expenses.

Your economic losses can be calculated by comparing what you used to make before your termination to what you make following the termination.

Compensation for emotional distress is a more difficult amount to estimate.  Ultimately, a jury would need to listen to testimony from you and your witnesses about how you were harmed from a mental and emotional health standpoint and determine an amount of money that adequately compensates you.

A skilled Iowa employment attorney helps you and your witnesses to help the jury understand the emotional hardships that your unlawful termination caused you

RSH Legal offers free, no-obligation case evaluations for Iowans who have been unlawfully terminated. To schedule yours, call 1-800-433-0283 today.

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