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Things To Think About When You Lose Your Job

Things To Think About When You Lose Your Job

You’ve just been fired.  You’re upset and worried.  In many cases, you’ve been given a Separation Agreement and told that you have a limited period of time to review and sign it.   Here are some things to think about:

  • Illegality: If you’ve been fired or retaliated against based on your race, sex, religion, nationality or another of several protected categories, illegal discrimination may be involved and you may have a claim against your employer.  You may also have rights under an employment contract or a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Severance Pay: Some employers offer no severance pay.  Others may offer payment on a case by case basis.  Some employers apply a standard formula to calculate payment to departing employees.  If you have a claim that your firing was illegal, you may be able to negotiate an increase in the amount of severance pay being offered.
  • Severance Agreement Issues: If your employer gives you a Severance Agreement to sign there are several things to watch for:
  • In exchange for a severance payment, the agreement will undoubtedly require you to release any rights or claims you have against the employer.  Read the release terms carefully.
  • You may be bound by non-compete or other restrictive covenants in the Agreement or based on terms you agreed to when you were hired. These clauses may limit what type of new job you can get.
  • Carefully check to make sure you’re being compensated for all days you worked and for earned commissions, accrued vacation days and other potential benefits. The Agreement should specifically address these issues.
  • If you had health insurance through your employer, you may be entitled to coverage after your employment ends, and you may be able to get your employer to pay the premiums for a limited period.

These are not simple issues in any circumstances and if you’ve been fired it may pay to contact an experienced employment law attorney to help you sort through them.