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250,000 workers are wrongfully terminated annually

Though specific statistics on wrongful termination can be hard to come by, experts do believe that around 250,000 people are wrongfully and illegally fired year in and year out.

Of course, some of these illegal firings are not reported and some workers may not even realize their rights have been violated. Still, this estimate shows just how widespread and common the problem is, despite all of the laws designed specifically to prevent it.

If you are fired, try to gather as much information as you can. This can simply include asking your employer for a reason for your termination, even if you are in an at-will employment situation and one is technically not needed. Write everything down and gather as much documentation and evidence as you can.

It's important to keep your emotions in check when you're fired. Try to keep your eyes on the big picture. For one thing, this doesn't mean your career is over. Many very successful people have been fired and you can just bounce back with another job. Plus, if you think the firing was illegal, you want to put your energy into protecting your rights and learning about the legal steps you need to take. Don't react emotionally and do or say things you'll later wish you could take back.

United States law does give workers many rights and protections, but don't assume that the mere fact that the law exists means you won't be wrongfully terminated. As you can see, it happens to hundreds of thousands of people per year. Always make sure you really understand your rights and what you can do after your employer decides to let you go.

Source: The Balance, "You're Fired! How to Handle Getting Fired," Alison Doyle, accessed May 12, 2017

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