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Is getting fired because of divorce illegal discrimination?

Not only is discrimination in the workplace unacceptable, but it's also illegal. People have been fired for their race, color of their skin, being pregnant, and more, but did you know that there have been cases in which workers have been fired after announcing they were getting divorced? 

With the lengthy court visits and needing to request a lot of time off, it can be stressful for employer and employee alike. Though inconveniet, it still isn't right for an employer to fire a divorced employee. In fact, marital status is one of many protected categories in workplace anti-discrimination laws. So what do you do if you've been fired because you were in the middle of the divorce process?

Gather evidence

It isn't enough to simply believe you were fired illegally. You'll need to have enough evidence to prove it to a court and jury. Strong evidence will give you a strong case and increase your chances of winning. Save emails, take notes about conversations and record anything you feel your employer or manager did that was in direct response to your divorce status.

Don't forget about statute of limitations

If you are going to begin a wrongful termination case, make sure to do it in a timely manner before your state's statute of limitations expires. Statute of limitations is a specific amount of time you have to take legal action and enforce your rights after a certain offense. These time frames can range anywhere from two to twenty years. The sooner you get your wrongful termination case moving, the better.

Negotiate a severance package

A severance package is pay and benefits someone receives when they are laid-off from their job. If you've been fired and you think it was from wrongful termination, requesting and negotiating a severance package may be in your best interest. You can even use this tactic as leverage if you do have a potential legal claim. A severance package will also serve as a buffer between being laid-off and finding a new job, so you can still continue with divorce proceedings without having to worry about prolonging the process.

Divorce is an emotional and time consuming process. Adding unemployment on top of that can make anyone feel helpless. If your employer terminated you or laid you off, seek the assistance of an experienced attorney, who can tell you if pursuing a wrongful termination case is the next step.

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