Most employees in Colorado are “at will,” which means your boss can fire you at any moment, for any reason, or no reason at all. Nevertheless, employers do not have an unlimited power to lay people off. Employees have many legal rights, which can be created by contract or by law, and an employer who violates them has committed a wrongful termination. To find the best wrongful termination lawyer in your area, follow the steps below.
Gather Relevant Information about Your Termination
First, identify why you think you have been wrongfully terminated. Generally, Colorado law protects against the following:
• Your employer terminated you because of discrimination against your race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, or another protected characteristic.
• Your employer fired you in retaliation for complaining about discrimination or blowing the whistle on illegal activity.
• Your employer terminated you without following the terms of your employment contract.
• Your employer fired you because you would not break the law.
Any of the above reasons are grounds for a wrongful termination suit. Collect any information in your possession, such as copies of your employment contract or employee manual, emails, notes, disciplinary notices, etc. You do not need to fully investigate your case before meeting with a lawyer, but pulling together this information ahead of time is helpful.
Ask Another Lawyer to Recommend a Wrongful Termination Attorney
Lawyers know other lawyers, and Denver is a small legal community. You might have used a lawyer previously to write a will, close on a home purchase, or represent you in a criminal matter. Even though this lawyer does not do employment law, they should know of lawyers who do. Call up your lawyer and ask if they can recommend someone.
Ask Friends or Acquaintances for a Recommendation
If you know someone has brought a wrongful termination lawsuit, you can ask them if they would recommend their lawyer. Write down the lawyer’s name and contact information. Also ask your friend what they liked about the lawyer. Remember, everyone is different, and a lawyer your friend likes might not be the right fit for you. Nevertheless, you can add the lawyer’s name to your list of referrals.
Obtain Referrals in Other Ways
You can get the names of other Denver wrongful termination lawyers by:
• Contacting the Colorado Bar Association for a referral.
• Look in the phone book for lawyers. Check if their ad states they practice employment law.
• Searching online. Type “Denver wrongful termination lawyer” or “Denver employment lawyer” into your favorite search engine.
The more names you get, the better. You can then go down through and weed out lawyers by looking at their websites.
Check the Lawyer’s Professionalism
How lawyers present themselves to the public says a lot about how they will represent clients. For example, a lawyer who has an unprofessional website full of typos and grammatical errors might be sloppy when it comes to client files. Conversely, a lawyer whose website is neat and informative cares about his clients and always puts his best foot forward.
Also check the website for information about the lawyer’s experience handling wrongful termination claims. Not all employment lawyers do these types of cases, and some lawyers represent only employers or employees. Check to see if the lawyer represents clients like you.
Finally, you can review whether the lawyer has been disciplined by the state by visiting here. Any client who is unhappy can file a complaint with the Supreme Court’s Attorney Regulation Counsel, who will investigate the lawyer’s conduct for ethical lapses. If the attorney did not behave ethically, then the Supreme Court will sanction him.
After researching each lawyer on your list, you should select three to meet with. Most lawyers offer a half-hour consultation where you can meet to discuss your legal issue and you can ask questions.
Many lawyers do not charge anything for the consultation, but some might charge a small fee. Check ahead of time.
Ask Questions at Your Consultation
When you meet with a lawyer, he will ask you questions about your case to determine whether you have a valid case against your employer. Sometimes, the lawyer will need more information, so he can flag what is missing from your case.
The consultation also gives you a chance to ask questions. Make sure you arrive with a list. Try not to ask any question that you can have answered by looking at the website, such as where the lawyer went to law school. Instead, focus on asking things like:
• Do you think I have a case for wrongful termination?
• What do you think a favorable resolution would be? Reinstatement in my job? A settlement? A lawsuit?
• How much compensation do you think I can obtain based on the facts we know now?
• Have you ever sued my employer before? Have you ever represented them?
• How do you communicate? Do you prefer telephone or email? If I call, will I speak to an assistant or to you personally?
• How much do you charge? Do you work on contingency?
Write down the lawyer’s answers and follow up if anything is unclear. You should feel comfortable talking to the lawyer and understand the answers given. If not, the lawyer might not be a good fit for you.
After attending all your consultations, pick the lawyer you liked the best and have the most confidence in. Remember: it is okay to trust your gut. There are many excellent wrongful termination lawyers in Denver, so chances are you have met with more than one would be terrific. If you did not feel comfortable with any of them, then start the process over again and find more referrals.
Have You Been Wrongfully Terminated? Speak with a Lawyer at the Olson Law Firm
Terminated employees have rights, especially when an employer violated state or federal anti-discrimination laws, or if they fired you in violation of your employment contract. To start the process of holding your employer accountable, reach out to a Denver wrongful termination attorney at the Olson Law Firm today. Initial consultations are always free and confidential.