Being fired from a job is a traumatic experience. Many Iowans who have been fired depended on their job to make ends meet each month. If that is your situation, then you probably started looking for work immediately and aggressively.
For others, being fired may lead to deep questions about what the next career move will look like – maybe even whether to change careers or simply take some extended time off work altogether.
If, however, you believe you may have a case against your employer in Iowa for a wrongful termination, it is important to look for a new job.
How to Prove You Were Wrongfully Terminated from Your Job in Iowa
In Iowa lawsuits that involve illegal discharges from employment, you will need to prove:
- The termination itself was unlawful, AND
- The amount of financial damage you sustained because of that termination.
That financial damage usually takes the form of wage loss – how much money you would have made if you had continued working versus the amount of money you made since your termination. You can also ask a jury to award you compensation for wages that you would have continued to earn into the future had you not been fired.
However, for a jury to award you money for wage loss, you must convince the jury that but for your employer’s decision to fire you, you would have continued working at the same pace and rate.
If, after getting fired, you choose to not return to work immediately or to leave the workforce permanently, then a jury may not believe you when you testify that you planned to work for the next three, five, or ten years. Instead, a jury may conclude that you were likely to resign or retire anyway and that the employer’s decision to fire you simply was not what caused your financial loss.
Looking For Work After Being Fired
Looking for work soon after you lose a job, and keeping track of the jobs you apply for, helps a jury to believe you when you testify at trial that you had plans to work for the same employer for a much longer time and that it was the employer – not you – who cut that timeline short.
An employer defending a case can also use the lack of a job search against you. Iowa law imposes a burden on a terminated employee to mitigate his or her damages. This means that a terminated employee cannot simply sit back and wait for the big settlement check or jury verdict to come in.
Instead, the law says that a terminated employee must make a reasonable effort to minimize – or mitigate – those losses. This means you need to look for jobs that are substantially equivalent to the job from which you were fired in terms of qualifications, salary, title, working conditions, and opportunities for advancement. If a terminated employee fails to undertake a reasonably diligent search for suitable work, then an employer defending a lawsuit may be able to successfully argue that a jury award for lost wages should be reduced.
For all of these reasons, if you are pursuing litigation against your former employer for unlawfully discharging you, it is important to look for other work.
If you believe you have been wrongfully discharged from your job, RSH Legal offers a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Get yours today by calling 1-800-433-0283.