You’ve always thought that you were a valued part of your employer’s team – but you’re suddenly picking up some signals that make you believe your boss is about to show you the door.
Your workload is suspiciously light, your co-workers and boss are keeping you at a distance, and you’ve been put on a performance improvement plan (PIP). You genuinely believe that you’re being fired for discriminatory reasons, but you don’t know how to protect yourself.
What can you do? Here are some suggestions:
1. Do not lose your cool.
The last thing you want to do is hand your employer an actual justification to fire you – like insubordination or threats. No matter how frustrated you’ve become, that would give your boss the upper hand in the situation.
2. Do gather up all the documentation you can.
You want to start (quietly) gathering up all the documents in your possession related to your employment. This includes your employee handbook, manuals that show disciplinary policies, pay records, your performance reviews, any written accolades you’ve received, emails from your boss or manager and anything else that comes to mind. All of those could be important evidence in a discrimination claim.
3. Do not damage company property.
You may anticipate being escorted out the door as soon as your manager gives you the bad news – so it may be tempting to make a “preemptive strike” and get a little revenge by destroying work files or destroying your company computer. Don’t do it. If you want to pursue litigation for discrimination, it’s important to keep your hands clean.
4. Do keep a record.
Get a notebook that you can carry in your bag or use an app on your personal cellphone to keep a record of anything you believe points to discrimination. Write down whatever is said or done, where it happened and who was there. Those notes can help build a case in the future.
If you believe that you have been (or are about to be) wrongfully terminated, it would be only wise to find out more about your legal options.