Skip to comments.I Just Got Fired.... Now What?
Posted on 10/19/2012 2:14:49 PM PDT by Volunteer
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“Since I know the owner very well and truly do not trust the guy, I know I am going to have to get an attorney.”
Be careful with the attorney. He could end up with the money, you get a bad deal and nothing to show for it. Have you done a good thourough search for this on the net? I’ll bet there are a lot of people who have faced this.
Enter this string in google;
sign agreement to get back pay quit instead of fired
Sorry to hear about that. I’m in CA, and was laid off in Feb. Still unable to find work. Really, really not a good time.
My advice, keep your head on straight. Wherever you were employed at, their HR should be able to help you sign up for unemployment benefits. It’s crappy, I know...but that’s why you pay taxes. Don’t get yourself down - it can be amazingly frustrating looking for work.
Although it’s very rare I post here, I’ve been a long-time spectator. Recently, I’ve been emailing/contacting old friends in OH and FL and playing my role to kick Obama out of office. Actually, contact anyone you know - your story will likely reach beyond the first degree of separation.
Hell, you don’t even know who I am - lol.
Good luck to you, and looking fwd to celebrating here in Nov!
There was 1 issue with a report but I was never told it was so grave I would be fired.
It was a typo.
NO!!! do not sign.
I don't think quitters get unemployment
People don’t know that when a former employee collects unemployment, the employer’s contribution goes up.
I am sorry this happened to you. Don’t panic. Don’t go into depression. You don’t have to sign to get your pay or vacation. That’s yours. You probably have to sign to get the severance. The fact that they are being dishonest with you about this worries me but there ain’t a whole lot you can do about it. If you take the severance you may not get UNenjoyment benefits which may last 2 years. Keep the form as evidence they offered to let you quit. You probably need the money more than giving it to a lawyer. The lawyer is the last option. One last thing. No matter what happens - DON’T THREATEN THEM. Even if they make you very angry. Don’t look back. Look ahead. If you need any support FReepmail me. I’ve traveled a similar road.
The HR guy then explained that if I sign this agreement, that it would be seen that I quit in lieu of termination.
I’m sorry this is happening to you. I’m not a lawyer, so I could be very wrong on this, but you need to find out if this would disqualify you from collecting unemployment should you need it at some point. Don’t sign anything until you speak to an attorney. It’s tempting to take whatever you think you can get up front, but this could hurt you in the long run. Be very careful.
They legally cannot refuse to pay you for salary you have earned or vacation pay you have accrued as part of your employment agreement. This would have to be paid on or before the next regularly schedule payday. The severance could probably be contingent on signing the release they want you to sign. If you don’t understand it you should probably have an attorney review and explain it to you.
You have a disability? Definitely get a lawyer.
Usually the piece of paper says you will get severance if you agree to hold them harmless and not sue them over anything whatsoever. Otherwise you get JUST your accumulated vacation and no package.One that I signed also said I would never be re-hired in exchange for the package.
Review the agreement - surely you can determine, to some extent, if it is the standard outline of company benefits that you are being afforded (severance, vaction time, etc), an agreement that you were not terminated - quit in lieu of being termed (this will make you ineligible for UE benefits, but the severance they are offering is of longer duration that UE benefits anyway), and an agreement to hold them harmless to you, your heirs, etc from any and all actions arising from your employment and subsequent departure. It is standard. Typically, you are better off accepting their offered package than rolling the dice with UE and losing all of your accrued benefits.
If this, in fact, is the synopsis of what is covered by the agreement, I would sign it and get to work seeking new employment. If you are truly uncertain, seek an attorney to explain it to you - it will likely cost you money to have them do so. You are an at will employee in an at will state, so you have no grounds for action unless you were under contract.
If you have a disability, that opens another large set of issues.
Hire an attorney. It will save you a lot of grief later on.
Obtain the services of a qualified employment lawyer....
God bless you. Thank you!
I thought you were in a layoff. Being let go is different. The fact that they are saying, it will be seen the same as quiting, doesn’t sound right.
5 months is still a good severance package, but the advice above to check your unemployment benefits is very good advice. Are you giving up your unemployment benefits, if you sign? Check on how long you can collect unemployment. It’s not as long as it was in recent years.
Older workers are covered by different laws too. You might want to check into the law for older workers if you fit in that category. It covers work at will states too.
The advice to contact the labor department of your state is also a good idea. You can do that before you see an attorney.
Also you can file a discrimination complaint yourself or have an attorney do it. Just remember that 5 months is a lot of money to give up unless you can prove discrimination.
Keep replying. Every time you reply, you add a whole new dimension to the problem.
You’re disabled? Whoa Nelly. Each state has hundreds of laws protecting disabled Americans. Look into ‘em.
On a side note, I do wonder what your Employers was paying in health premiums to keep you around. And what with new health insurance renewal contracts on the table for most employers, I bet THAT was a factor in letting you go.
They can’t afford you, man.
(Sorry. I don’t mean to be harsh.)
Been there...it’s not enjoyable! First off if they let you go/fired /whatever remember it is their loss! More than likely it had little to do with you. Performance is a vague excuse but allows both the employer and employee to benefit.
Secondly make sure you can still collect unemployment if you sign the release! It sounds like you can, but make sure!7
If you can, take the package and move on. One door closes, others open.
My oldest son has been through a couple of incidents like yours and has always come out for the better. Recently he voluntarily left a good job at the local international airport to manage a local beer distributor. Not only is he making more money and can now walk to work, he is way happier!
We will keep you in our prayers. Don’t let the stupid wear you down!
Sometimes they make you agree not to work for a competitor for up to 5 years.
If you have prospects for a job with such a company be careful about this.
The more money that’s involved the better the argument for having a lawyer advise you before signing.
I'm frustrated and angry and embarrassed as hell
It's probably not you at all. It sounds like politics/obamacare stuff. Companies are getting hit with that come Jan 2013. But they certainly couldn't tell you that.
Best of luck to you.
They want you to quit so they don’t have to pay unemployment. If they have really good cause to fire you, they’d probably do it. Sounds like you’re getting screwed.
They can’t withhold pay that you’ve earned. People that get fired don’t normally get severance.
Sounds like you were laid off and not fired. Been through this one time myself. Sign the paperwork and get your money. This is SOP. Take a few weeks, formulate a plan and then move on.
They need to pay that up front or within the normal pay period, end of the month or whatever. Short of pilferage from the company or other criminal type malfeasance with which they would have to charge you, what you have worked for and earned is yours with or without a signed termination agreement.
If they still insist, get it in writing and take what they have written and the termination agreement to the lawyer. Give them a reasonable time frame on when you will get back to them with an answer. You need not even mention lawyers. Just tell them you need it in writing to discuss with your financial adviser.
Yeah, it is definitely better to have it on your record that you quit rather than that you were terminated. But good employers also understand that there are jag-off employers who terminate for unjustified reasons.
I was the victim of a purely political termination some years ago. After 10 years or so, nobody even asks about it anymore. The first job I got after that one actually told me the straightforward manner in which I handled it was a reason I got hired. I won't go into the details on the reason for the termination, but it was basically because I refused to cooperate with the political lynching of my boss at the time because he was an honorable and decent man.
Good luck in your next position. I know this can be a major blow, particularly in an economy like this. But you can get through it with the help of family, friends and a good network. Let us know how you make out.
I was fired from a job of 10 years back in 1999. After a 9 month interim job, I got a new one that paid way more, and today I'm earning about 4 times what I was earning at the place that fired me. The first days are tough though. For me it started with coincidentally locking my keys in my car on the day I got fired. Standing in the parking lot holding a cardboard box with my stuff in it looking at my keys in the ignition was brutal. Hey former fellow employee, I just got fired and don't work here anymore. Do you have a coat hanger? Ouch
I live in Wisconsin too and I can assure you that vacation time is earned and they owe it to you no matter what the circumstances. Not so with sick time or personal days, that's why i always take my personal days prior to my vacation.
What is your area of expertise and where do you live?
You can draw unemployement even with a severance package. Hard to believe it, but it’s true.
Pray Romney wins.
Read what you sign. Stay friendly, ask for a written recommendation - I'm sure they will be happy to give you one.
I'll keep you in prayers.
Sorry for your job loss. Its ok to temporarily let your bruised emotions hurt for awhile. When that subsides and you replace it with positive reinforcements just remember that God is your supplier so have faith and confidently move with expectation into your future. Who knows, maybe losing this job is a silver lining not yet realized.
Sign it your name followed by: “without prejudice UCC 1-308”
Some people say that would reserve your rights if they try to screw you...
Sorry for your job loss, good luck. I went through it recently and it sucks out there. Hey, at least now you will have more time to Volunteer!
Don't be! It's the way of the world these days. Keep your head up. Things will change and everything will work out.
I agree with everyone else. Do not sign anything without having a lawyer look at it! Do not allow them to force your hand. They do not want to pay the unemployment, that's why they're most likely making you the offer.
Stay positive, I believe things are going to turn around after this election.
I got 7 months when MSFT laid me off in 2009. After 2 months, I got back on as a contractor. Since I wasn’t an employee, it didn’t affect my severance. Then they rehired me as an employee 2 weeks after I would have had to pay anything back to them. Not kidding, they actually lost money doing this.
Hate to spend money on lawyers as much as the next guy, but usually on things like this it is money well spent...
Before I can offer you any advice I would have to know both sides of the "story". Specifically, why did they fire you and what documentation did they present to justify their decision?
Second: What is your argument in defense of your job?
Third: Are you in a "Protected Group"? Minority, senior citizen, etc.....
Fourth: Is your state an "At Will" state?
Wisconsin is an "at will" state and your employer has every right to terminate you. Consider yourself lucky that they are giving you a five month severance package so take the money and move on.
You know exactly what the document they are providing you with says, I've received one myself. It basically says that in acceptance of their offer you agree not to sue them..........pretty simple really.
And if you're a smart guy, you won't waste your money in hiring an attorney because the attorney is the only party in this incident that is going to profit.....
They also can't terminate whatever contractual rights you might have. You don't need to have a contract in order to have contractual rights. An employee handbook or an open company policy that provides due process rights such as a warning of bad performance and opportunity to cure before termination is sufficient. If you feel you have reimbursable vacation time or other rights then there has obviously been some policy or discussion that has given you that idea and, if so, it can't be taken away from you.
As others on this thread have pointed out, you should absolutely not sign anything until you've had an attorney analyze the situation. It could be that the deal they're proposing is the best you can do, but you need to be fully informed before making the decision. It might take a couple hours of attorney time to sort out your options, but it will be worth it to get competent advice. Go here and search for an attorney in your area who lists employment law as an area of practice.
Don't let it get you down. I have found myself in difficult situations in the past and most of them have ultimately turned out to be blessings in disguise. Stay positive!
Volunteer, sorry to hear this.
Repeating the general advice from other Freepers, labor laws very dramatically by state, legal consultation would seem appropriate if you don't understand it, never sign anything you don't understand.
If you quit, you would most likely not be able to collect unemployment and any other benefits that may be things commonly given to the company's other employees upon a layoff.
I wish you the best of luck.
Unless your employer goes Chapter 7 and disappears overnight...
As a follow up, a five month severence package for only 5 years of employment is pretty darn good.........
In CA they cannot withhold your earned vacation pay to sign a release. Do not know about WI. Also the resigned in leiu of termination clause might pose a problem in collecting unemployment. Again don’t know the effect in WI.
Bottom line - see an WI atty who knows this stuff. You can try to find one through the National Employment Lawyers Association “NELA.”
God bless you and thanks.
BIG mistake to get “a lawyer.” I deal with lawyers all the time and getting any lawyer even specializing in labor law is a waste of time. You may as well crack a match to the money you’ll pay him for all the good it will do you.
You first have to find the right lawyer instead of just “a lawyer.” Not doing research on the lawyer you are dealing with can turn into catastrophe. Don’t underestimate this. You may have to interview 20-30 lawyers before you find the one that fists your needs.
When you see a lawyer they all look at you to see what kind of goose they are going to carve up. They first think about how much money you have to go the distance. If they think you are some poor sap, they will soak you for a few hours of time only to tell you you are screwed. They almost all think this way. Don’t do that.
If you do contact “a lawyer” find out if they charge for the initial consultation. If they do not, go talk to them to educate yourself. If they do don’t see them.
I would go as far as taking an anonymous classified ad in the paper asking the same question you asked here and see who responds. In other words, you need to figure how to get referrals from people who are going through the same thing and who have had positive outcomes.
Getting a lawyer willy nilly is the road to disaster.
Don't you think it's strange that they claim they're firing you for "performance," yet are offering you a 5 month severance package? I'm assuming the term "performance" means they think you weren't performing up to par. Did they provide you with a written statement listing the areas you weren't performing well?
While everyone else is saying ‘dont sign until you have a lawyer look at it’ one hopes you have a friend or relative lawyer to look at it. You dont want to pay lawyer’s fees to review a standard agreement.
Companies do this to protect their rear ends from lawsuits. If you dont feel you should or could sue the company for doing something wrong in how they treated you, then you will end up wanting to sign this, take the severance package and move on quickly to get your next step in your career. You should check on what rights you will have for unemployment benefits, if you need that.
The main thing is not to dwell on the job you lost. Again, unless they did something stinky or illegal, if this was ‘laid off because the company is losing business and cant afford me’ then they only did what they could and your best bet is to take the severance and move on.
You have great skills and assets that will enable you enjoy a new and different job. The old company has inadvertently given you an opportunity to grow and you have a few months of pay to help in that transition.
Dont wait 5 months to look for your next job. I suggest you go to the library and get the book:
“Fired with enthusiasm”
Millions of Americans have been laid off in this Obama depression, so dont feel bad, be positive and you will find the next step one in the right direction. That book helped me gain a good persepctive and it will help you.
In the end, it will be best to sign, get the severance package, and move forward with your life...
If you were a ‘regular’ employee (rather than contract), they cannot withhold payment for vacation time accrued but not taken, if vacation accumulation was a part of the regular employment (given to all employees).
This is at the negotiating stage. Get assistance from someone more knowledgeable with your situation and your state laws. It may be worth contacting an attorney.
If you were being “fired” because of performance (if I remember correctly were good except for a “typo”), there would be NO severance package. A severance package are for those being laid off (been there done that). The fact they are asking you to lie, forcing you to sign something that states you quit is a HUGE red flag.
Not only did I get my severance package, I was able to collect unemployment as well, at the same time.....although I worked for the big evil Citicorp.
They cannot withhold what you have already earned in regards to your salary. Vacation time is another matter. Depends on what you signed when you took the job (some are use it or lose it, especially in small business).
Get an attorney. Looks like they are “tying up loose ends” before obamacare kicks in.
Oh....and God Speed at finding a new job. Prayers up!
Waste of money. The agreement is a simple one page document. Folks here are making too much out of a common every day occurance..... Over 30 years in HR, both plant side and corporate and received the same letter in my 34th year.
Just move on....
My disability stems from an accident I had back in 1995. I had a Traumatic Brain Injury. So, I have difficulty with reading at times. But, I did well enough to finish my Ph.D. in 2000.
The company is in a bad financial spot, made worse by the fact that the owner hired his father-in-law.
I haven’t read all the comments yet, so I don’t know the legal ins and outs, but I can tell you, as one experienced in Involuntary Severance Packages that five months severance for five years service is excellent. Usually it’s five weeks. From what I’ve seen of your later comments, “in lieu of termination” for performance means you won’t get a better deal. Get a lawyer to check out the contract you’re being asked to sign, you should be able to get one inexpensively for this matter by contacting a lawyer referral service or the state Bar.
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