Wrongful Termination

 

I think I was fired because I’m a woman.

 

It happened to me:
A Real Life Story

 

a. I think I was fired because I’m a woman, how do I prove it?

 

b. How do I prove I belong to a protected group?

 

c. How do I prove I performed at an acceptable level?

 

d. What if I resigned or quit my job?

 

e. What is constructive discharge and how do I prove it?

 

f. How do I prove my employer sought a replacement with similar qualifications?

 

g. How do I prove I was fired because I am a female?

 

h. Does it matter when the discrimination occurred? (New window to WDTLS)

 

i. What options do I have if I my employer has fewer than 6 employees? (New window to WDTLS)

 

j. If I prove my wrongful termination claim, what kind of remedies am I entitled to? (New window to Remedies)

 

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a. I think I was fired because I’m a woman, how do I prove it?
There are four elements you must prove to show you were terminated because of your sex. 1. You belong to a "protected group."
2. You performed your job at an acceptable level.
3. You were terminated.
4. Your employer sought a replacement with similar qualifications.

 

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b. How do I prove I belong to a protected group?
By being female, you automatically are a member of a protected group.

 

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c. How do I prove I performed at an acceptable level?
The court will look at the job requirements, your job evaluations, educational level needed for the job, and any continued training you have received.

 

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d. What if I resigned or quit my job?
If you resigned or quit your job because of intolerable working conditions or because you were experiencing discrimination, you might have a claim for constructive discharge.

 

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e. What is constructive discharge and how do I prove it?
Constructive discharge occurs when your employer deliberately makes your work environment "so intolerable" that you are forced into an "involuntary resignation." To prove a constructive discharge occurred, you must show your working conditions were so intolerable that any "reasonable" person in your situation would have resigned.

 

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f. How do I prove my employer sought a replacement with similar qualifications?
The court will compare your qualifications and the qualifications of the person who received your position to the qualifications requested by your employer. The court will also compare your job responsibilities, duties, work abilities and prior training with those of your replacement.

 

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g. How do I prove I was terminated because I am a female?
In Massachusetts, there are three steps to proving a case of discrimination. First, you must provide evidence which, if everything you alleged was true, would prove that your employer discriminated against you. This is called your "prima facie case." Next, your employer will be given an opportunity to produce a "plausible, legitimate and nondiscriminatory justification" for its conduct. Finally, you must rebut your employer’s argument and show either that the actual motivation was discriminatory or that the employer’s proffered reason for its conduct was pretext (a false or invented reason advanced to cover for a real, discriminatory reason). At all times, it is your responsibility to prove that discrimination was a "determinative factor" in the employer’s decision to fire you. However, "determinative factor" does not mean that discrimination was the only factor. You are not required to disprove all possible reasons that your employer could have had for firing you, only that the reason your employer produced is not the real reason. If, for instance, you succeed in persuading the court that your employer’s proffered reason was pretext, you should prevail in your case. In the end, the judge or jury will weigh all the evidence and decide if there is enough evidence to infer discriminatory intent on the part of your employer.

 


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