Being fired from a job is an emotionally draining experience and an administrative rollercoaster. Because you still need to support yourself (and probably, your family), you need to figure out your next steps fast. If you suspect wrongful termination, you need to get your case reviewed by a wrongful termination lawyer. If you are in Kansas City, MO, you need a lawyer that is familiar with Missouri employment law.
Ask a Wrongful Termination Lawyer in Kansas City, MO: Can I Collect Unemployment During a Wrongful Termination Claim?
The state of Missouri specifies that an employee who’s been separated from their job because of no fault of their own is entitled to certain compensations. However, because Missouri follows an at-will employment tenet, which means that an employee may be separated from their charge without any particular reason, proving wrongful termination is complicated.
How Can You Prove Wrongful Termination in Missouri?
Missouri only recognizes a wrongful termination claim when one of these things happens:
Breach of Contract
For a contract to be legally binding in Missouri, it must be written and signed. For your protection, an employment contract should include:
- A specific duration
- Salary and benefits
- A definition of your role, tasks, and ways in which you’ll be evaluated
If you are terminated outside the specified terms of your contract, you may be able to prove wrongful termination.
Discrimination based on disabilities, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or race is illegal in all states. You must get help from an attorney because, in Missouri, there are some exceptions to discrimination laws according to the number of employees.
If you speak up against discrimination or file a compensation claim and are terminated because of it, you can file a complaint for wrongful termination. You can also file a retaliation complaint if you were not fired but demoted or harassed by the employer because of the reasons stated above, which constitute “Adverse Employment Action.” Remember to keep proof of any communication or official documents that may support your claim.
Violation of Worker’s Rights
As an employee in Missouri, you have the right to be paid at least a minimum wage of $10.30 and overtime if you work more than forty hours per week. You also have the right to take time off work for medical reasons, jury duty, and to vote.
You should consult with an attorney immediately if you believe your employer violated your rights, as wrongful termination claims are also time-sensitive. The statute of limitations for your case depends based on your claim. If you file for wrongful termination because of discrimination, you have 180 days to file a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). If you are filing because of a breach of contract, you have up to 10 years.
How to File a Wrongful Termination Claim in Missouri?
The first step is to get advice from a wrongful termination attorney. You should start by compiling a list of the top wrongful termination lawyers in Kansas City and request the first consultation to determine which one is best for your situation. As with any court case, you’ll need to provide sufficient evidence to support your claim. It is essential to save proof of all communications, a copy of your contract, and any other elements that can help you prove that by terminating you, your employer broke the law.
Do I Qualify for Unemployment Benefits?
Unfortunately, you cannot draw from unemployment until you prove that you were wrongfully terminated. If your case is accepted, you can benefit from up to 20 weeks of unemployment payments at a cap of $320 per week (the amount you’ll receive will depend on your wages and how long you were employed during the last quarter before being terminated).
How to Choose the Best Attorney?
It is important to remember that big companies with money at their disposal can have the representation of influential law firms to fight your wrongful termination claim, which is why you need to be prepared and represented by a reasonable employment attorney from the beginning.
Before hiring a lawyer, ask many questions such as:
- What do you think is the best course of action regarding my case?
- Do you believe that my evidence is enough to prove my claim?
- Can you give me some examples of similar cases that you have represented?
- Can you give me an approximate timeline for my process?
Because of Missouri’s at-will labor laws, proving wrongful termination may be complicated. Hiring a knowledgeable attorney increases your chances of winning your claim and getting unemployment benefits. A good lawyer will carefully study your case and guide you through the administrative process, like filing paperwork, court dates, etc. They will also help you compile the necessary evidence to support your claim.