If you are an employee, had your job terminated, and are even thinking you may bring a legal claim against your former employer some day, please know that you should keep documentation relating to your job search efforts.
You may ask, “What does my job-search or new employment have to do with what my old employer did?” The answer: for most common employment claims (e.g. a claim your termination violated discrimination law), the offending employer can be held responsible for wages you lost (or “back pay”) from the date of your termination forward. An offending employer could try to legally reduce or eliminate the back pay it has to pay you by claiming that you didn’t look hard enough for a new job (or that you “failed to mitigate damages” in legal speak).
To avoid this potential argument that you failed to mitigate damages or look hard enough for work, you should keep documentation of your job-hunting efforts to remove any doubt that you made reasonable efforts to find work.
What Documentation You Should Keep
To keep good documentation of your job-search efforts, you should:
- Keep or record information about every prospective employer you contact (e.g. write down the prospective employer’s name, date of call/visit, what job position you inquired about, rate of pay, etc.).
- Save copies of job-application-related documents (e.g. job ads you reviewed, applications you sent, cover letters, resumes, rejection letters, etc.).
- Save copies of unemployment-related documents you have (e.g. Wisconsin’s Unemployment division requires that an unemployment claimant-employee contact at least two prospective employers per week, and to keep documentation to that effect).
If you keep these forms of documentation, you will be in a better position for any future legal claim against the employer who terminated your employment.