10 things you need to know if you are facing possible wrongful termination
When facing wrongful termination, it is easy to undermine your own case against your employer either before or during the termination process.
You should follow the principles below so as to ensure that you have the best possible case to subsequently mount against your employer.
1. Don’t resign without taking prior legal advice.
2. Don’t sign any documents without taking prior legal advice.
3. Don’t say you are taking legal advice. If the employer knows that a lawyer is involved, they are likely to be more guarded in their dealings with you.
4. Don’t make any admissions. If asked to provide an explanation of your conduct or performance, you should do so, as a timely explanation may stop an investigation in its tracks. However, when replying to questions, you should not do so in a way that will open up other lines of enquiry by the employer or make it easier for them to establish the case against you.
5. Don’t take on new duties or by your conduct appeared to relinquish your old job without taking prior legal advice. A court may otherwise form the view that you have by your conduct acquiesced in a variation to your employment contract.
6. Perform your current role to the best of your ability (don’t give them any excuse to terminate you).
7. Make sure you have a copy of your contract of employment and all relevant documents relating to your terms and conditions of employment and the immediate crisis off the premises. Be mindful that you may be suddenly locked out of your office and denied access to the documents that may be necessary to build your case.
8. Don’t be pressured into taking an early decision regarding your departure before your cause of action has been thoroughly evaluated. If necessary, simply say that you need to speak to your accountant or your spouse or come up with some other excuse until legal advice can be obtained.
9. Be meticulous about confidentiality. Only communicate with external advisers by a confidential e-mail address that cannot be accessed by your employer.
10. If you have been handed a cheque and have been told at the time of receiving it words to the effect that it is in full and final settlement of all claims or you have received a memo or letter from the employer to the same effect, don’t bank the cheque. In these circumstances, make it clear that you reserve all of your legal rights to receive payment on an unconditional basis. If your employer makes a unilateral payment into your bank account, then that of itself will not compromise your claim.
Your objective should be to ensure that the terms of your departure are fully set out in a properly prepared exit agreement. i.e. a Deed of Separation and Release.
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The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice regarding your own situation.