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What should I do if I think I've been wrongfully terminated?

First it's important to recognize that Michigan is an "at-will" employment state. This means that employers have the right to terminate your employment at any time for any reason. However, there are exceptions. For example, termination cannot occur for discriminatory purposes or for retaliation against an employee who filed a claim against the employer. Additionally, if you are subject to an employment contract, whether written or verbal, then there may be certain circumstances under which your employer cannot end your employment.

So what should you do if you believe you have been subjected to a wrongful termination? First, you should be sure that you don't act out irrationally. You may be so angry that you feel like saying something hostile to your former employer, but don't. It could come back to bite you later. Second, ask your employer for the reason why they fired you and who, specifically, made that decision. Then, you can ask to review your personnel file to see if there is any evidence supporting that justification.

If you were under an employment contract, then you may want to review it. You can also consider any promises your employer made to you during the course of your employment, whether written or verbal. Once you've done all of that, be sure to negotiate a severance package, if possible. Here, you want to make sure that you get everything in writing and have your former employer sign it.

If at this point you still feel like you've been wrongfully terminated, or you want help assessing the situation before accepting any kind of severance package, you should think about discussing the matter with an experienced employment law attorney. If your former employer treated you unfairly in your dismissal, then an attorney may be able to craft a strong legal strategy that puts you in a position where you can recover compensation for your damages and, perhaps, even your job. It all depends on the circumstances and facts at hand, though, which is why it may be helpful to seek out legal assistance.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Termination Claims," accessed on May 14, 2017

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