Below is a list of supporting documentation that you should personally preserve post termination and bring to a consultation with an employment attorney regarding your unemployment appeal, wrongful termination or unpaid wages/overtime case. If the documents are not available, you may still have a chance to claim your unemployment benefits and take action. Once you have been terminated, it is best to stop all communications with the company unless the communication is absolutely necessary.
1) Tax documents and Paystubs: W2s, 1099s, and paystubs contain very important information regarding the corporate entity that employed you. This ensures that the correct entity is being named in your claim and also serves as record of how much you were actually paid, which helps calculate damages and the amount of overtime pay you are owed.
2) Log of Work Hours: A personal record of your hours worked, i.e. a copy that is not saved on the employer’s system, which you can access anytime post your departure from the company. It can be a written log, copies or pictures of the timesheets submitted to the employer, etc. These documents help determine the damages you are entitled to and may be used to rebut any false claims of attendance issues.
3) Performance Reviews / Disciplinary Reports / Write Ups/ Termination Letters: These documents will be presented by the employer to support their claim, so it is best to have your attorney review them prior to the attorney contacting the company. The content may also provide your attorney insight of the wrongful treatment and contain the names of key individuals. If you responded to the poor reviews or disciplinary reports, these documents should also be given to the attorney. If possible, I suggest contacting an attorney prior to responding to any poor reviews or disciplinary reports.
4) Complaints to Human Resource and Management: I personally prefer to see an email version of complaints that deal with discrimination, (race, age, disability, religion, national origin or whatever type of discrimination it may be) since there are no variables (other than incorrect email addresses) that could affect receipt. An easy way to keep copies of these records is to forward the initial email after it was sent to your personal email address. If handwriting a complaint, make sure to add the date, the name of the person you are sending the letter to and send it via certified mail to ensure receipt. If your company only allows oral complaints via a phone system, you should recap your conversation via email with whomever you spoke with or at least send a follow up email within a week to check up on the status of your complaint. Before filing a complaint with human resources, I strongly suggest having a consultation with an employment attorney to make sure you know your rights and are not setting yourself up for termination. Complaints to human resources and management should always be written in a professional manner.
5) Doctor Notes: If you have a medical condition or disability and you need a reasonable accommodation, an attorney will need to review the medical documentation you submitted to your employer requesting the accommodation. If you have suffered stress due to your termination, an attorney would need to review your doctor’s or therapist’s notes that summarize their findings and/or diagnoses. If you were prescribed medicine by a doctor due to the stress of termination, your attorney would also need to review a list of the medications you are taking.
6) Log of New Employment Efforts: You are required to search for equivalent employment in order to receive unemployment benefits and damages from your wrongful termination case. Sometimes the unemployment department will require that you submit weekly reports of your search efforts, these reports should continue to be logged even after your unemployment benefits have expired as these documents will affect the damages that can be collected in your wrongful termination case. To ensure logs are done properly, please be as thorough as possible and include where you searched for jobs, when you submitted applications, if you were offered a job and the reasons for not accepting a job (distance, pay, etc.).
7) Witness Statements: If you can secure witness names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and statements, this would go a long way in assisting your attorney and supporting your allegations as to why you are entitled to unemployment or damages for wrongful termination or unpaid wages/overtime pay. Witnesses can be other employees, customers or anyone that witnessed the events. The witness statements must be specific to your employment issues, not other employees. The statements should also be signed, dated and sworn to be the truth.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at AN@ANLawFirm.com.
Caution & Legal Disclaimer
Each state has different laws on being able to record individuals without notice and each company might have different policies on how to use their system. I provide information about the law designed to help users safely cope with their legal needs, but legal information is not the same as legal advice, the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. I recommend you schedule an appointment if you want professional assurance that my information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.