Learn How To Apply For Unemployment Claims With Our Guide

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An unlawful termination can be frustrating and cause negative financial and career-related circumstances that are undeserving. Employees wrongfully fired in WA may feel the need to seek compensation and justice for their situation.

Workers wrongfully terminated from jobs will need to ensure there is a valid case to pursue when preparing for legal action. Learning what is a wrongful termination and the employment laws enforced in the state is important before attempting to sue a former employer.

Wrongful termination in Washington can occur because of discrimination or ill-intended malice by an employer. After enduring a wrongful dismissal, a terminated employee will want to focus on learning the proper procedure to seek justice. Employees wrongfully fired from jobs should start preparing evidence and details of their claims.

To learn how to pursue a claim after being wrongfully terminated in Washington, read through the following sections:

  • Types Of Illegal Termination in Washington
  • Types Of Legal Termination in Washington
  • At-Will Employment Exceptions in Washington
  • Filing a Discrimination Charge With The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington
  • Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer in Washington

Washington Unemployment Resources

Types of Illegal Termination in Washington

There are types of unlawful terminations from employment in WA that protect the rights and livelihood of employees in the state. These types of illegal termination of employment prohibit employers from firing employees based on characteristics of their:

  • Gender.
  • Ethnicity.
  • Religion.
  • Mental or physical disability.
  • Age.
  • Veteran status.

Retaliatory types of illegal firing that are against the law also disallow the firing of workers because of a formal complaint or legal claim they have made against the company or due to an employee receiving worker’s compensation or other company benefits. These types of unlawful terminations express unfair treatment or malicious intent toward an employee.

When one of these types of illegal terminations in Washington occurs, an employee has a cause of action to file a lawsuit against the offending employer. Terminated employees should document these types of illegal dismissal of employment to pursue a claim against a former employer.

Types of Legal Termination in Washington

An employee terminated for legal reasons for terminating employees in Washington may still experience negative financial or professional outcomes but does not have the merit to file a lawsuit. Several types of legal dismissal of employment in WA are not eligible reasons to pursue a wrongful termination case against a former employer.

Two of these types of legal firings include when a worker shows poor job performance or has reached the end of a contract. Other types of legal termination of employment occur when a business closes or there are employee layoffs. These types of legal terminations in Washington may be troubling for employees but do not violate federal or state laws.

At-Will Employment Exceptions in Washington

What is employment at will? Several states observe exceptions to at-will employment, but at-will employment law emphasizes the “at-will” working relationship between employer and employee that allows either party to terminate the relationship legally at any time.

Is Washington an at will state? Almost every state in the U.S., including Washington, observes the at-will employment law. However, there are at will employment exceptions in Washington that are amendments to the law. These exceptions to at will employment include:

  • The public-policy exception that no employer can terminate an employee for adhering to public policy such as taking time off of work for jury duty.
  • The implied-contract exception that employees who have an implied contract (even one not in writing) cannot be terminated by employers without just cause.

Other exceptions to at will employment not observed in Washington include the covenant of good faith and fair dealing exception, which emphasizes the fair treatment of employees by their employers.

Filing a Discrimination Charge With the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington

To file a wrongful termination discrimination charge in WA, you will need to submit a claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Seattle district office by mail, online or in person. When filing a charge of discrimination in Washington, it is important to submit the claim within 180 days of the incident. The process for how to file an EEOC employment discrimination charge requires the claimant to file within the deadline or risk denial of the claim.

During the process for how to file a charge of employment discrimination with the EEOC, there are many possible outcomes. After filing a charge of discrimination in Washington, the agency will first ask you and your former employer questions about the incident to complete a thorough investigation. Once completed, the EEOC may recommend a mediation program for a quick way to settle the claim.

However, if your previous employer is not open to this negotiation, the EEOC staff may attempt a voluntary settlement on your behalf. If both the mediation and voluntary settlements do not produce a satisfactory conclusion, the EEOC may grant you a Notice of Right to Sue your former employer in a court of law.

Filing a Lawsuit Against Your Employer in Washington

Can I file a lawsuit for wrongful termination? You are free to file a lawsuit against employers for wrongful termination once the EEOC  grants you permission and you have a strong case with sound evidence. When suing for wrongful termination in Washington, keep in mind that you are responsible for proving your claim through witness testimonials, paycheck stubs and detailed documentation of dates and interactions.

Filing a wrongful termination claim against employers can be a complicated and lengthy process for employees who do not have help. If you are trying to navigate the process of how to file a wrongful termination lawsuit and feel overwhelmed, the help of an experienced attorney may be what you need. If you hope to file a lawsuit against your employer in Washington with a successful outcome, you should consider the assistance of a lawyer for preparing evidence and presenting legal arguments.

Last Updated: October 18, 2022