Writing a Grievance Letter for Wrongful Termination (with Sample)

If an employee believes he or she is wrongfully terminated from their job, they can send a grievance letter for wrongful termination to their employer to request reinstatement. 

In some cases, the employee may be a member of a labor union and a union representative will handle their case. In any case, it is important to keep a file of all the documents related to the termination.

Rules About Filing A Grievance

Before writing the letter, the employee should find out if the company has rules about filing a grievance for wrongful termination. For the best outcome, it is recommended to follow all of the company’s rules and regulations. 

There may be a time limit that an employee can contest a decision, so it is important to act as quickly as possible after the termination.

If the employee senses that their job may be in jeopardy, they should begin keeping a record of all work-related events such as:

• Performance reviews
• Reprimands and commendations
• Salary increases or decreases
• Informal conversations with supervisors including time, date, location and witnesses
• Copies of memos, reviews or policies

These documents should be mailed by the employee to him or herself by certified mail and not opened unless and until a court case is required. The employee should make sure they have a legal right to any documents they take.

If the employee is a member of a union, they should contact their representative as soon as possible and follow his or her directions for writing a grievance letter for wrongful termination.

Breach of Contact

If the employee is not a union member, they should study the employee handbook and determine if their dismissal is wrongful or a breach of contract. There should be a list of justifiable causes for the company to terminate an employee. 

According to federal anti-discrimination laws, employees cannot be dismissed or otherwise penalize on the basis of national origin, color, race, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability and age. However, there are also wrongful job terminations that are not based on discrimination but are breaches of contract.

Some of the most common causes for wrongful job termination are if the employee is fired because he or she:

• Took time off to vote or for military service
• Refused to do an illegal act requested by a superior
• Reported unsafe working environment to the government

Some of the damages an employee can claim if they are wrongfully dismissed are:

• Back pay
• Reinstatement
• Front pay
• Promotion
• Compensatory damages
• Injunctive relief
• Attorneys’ fees
• Reasonable accommodations required
• Punitive damages

Handbook

The handbook will most likely also have a termination dispute procedure. These procedures should be followed exactly. If the employee does not follow procedure, it could give the employer a legal reason not to consider the request. 

Since there are many ways an employer can wrongfully dismiss an employee, it is recommended for the employee to talk to an employee relations attorney. 

The employer will most probably have an attorney to look after the interests of the company. The employee’s attorney should be told all the facts and shown all the documentation that supports the employee’s reason for the dispute. 

Tone of Letter

The tone of this letter should be professional and not emotional. It should state facts that can be backed up by documentation. 

Here is a sample grievance letter for wrongful termination. The letter should be addresses to the person who signed the termination letter. A copy could also be sent to a superior. 

The letter should be sent by certified mail, so the sender has proof of the time and date it was received. If any documents are enclosed with the letter, they should be copies and not original documents.

Grievance Letter for Wrongful Termination 

Employee’s Name
Employee’s Address
City, State, Zip Code

DATE

Employer’s Name
Company’s Name
Company’s Address

Dear Name of Employer:

This letter is to raise a formal grievance concerning my dismissal on DATE. 

According to the terms of my contract that I signed on DATE, which I have enclosed, I must be given three warnings before I can be dismissed. However, I was not given any warnings and summarily fired on the above date. 

I have worked for Name of Company for the past six years and always received positive feedback and evaluations from my project managers and superiors. I have enclosed three commendations I received in the past two years. 

The reason for my dismissal was unclear. It seems to have been connected to an alleged incident with a colleague that never happened.

According to the rules and regulations of my contract, I am entitled to a hearing to discuss the matter. I am also entitled to bring a union representative or another work colleague to the hearing. 

I hope to receive a reply from you within 30 days of the date on this letter. I can be reached at 555-123-4567 or at Name@email.com.

Sincerely, 

Signature of Employee
Printed Name of Employee
List of Enclosures
Copy to supervisor (if applicable)

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