Losing your job can be incredibly troubling, especially when you didn’t see it coming. As difficult as it might be, make sure that you are taking steps to ensure that you were not terminated for an unlawful reason.
Keeping your wits about you is important during this time. From the second you find out that you aren’t going to be allowed to remain at your current job, you must ensure that you are behaving in a way that will work for your future.
California is an at will employment state, which means you have the right to quit whenever you want, and your employer has the right to fire you whenever he or she wants. Even though this might seem like you don’t have any protections against wrongful termination, you do have them. Employers can’t fire you for a protected reason, such as discrimination or retaliation. If discrimination or retaliation is the basis for the termination, you might have a legal claim for wrongful termination.
Severance pay and contracts
If you have an employment contract, you need to review it carefully to determine your rights when you are terminated. Many contracts come with severance packages. Know what is in this package. Review what it means in your case. Also, remember that these are negotiable. Even if you don’t have a severance package clause in your contract, you might be able to get one when you are terminated. Often, companies are willing to compensate one to two weeks of pay for every year that you were employed with the company. It might behoove you to consult with someone familiar with these situations to negotiate the terms of the severance package.
Think about future job prospects
Being terminated isn’t always a bad thing, even though it may seem like it is at the time. If you are being fired because of something that doesn’t have to do with your performance and there is a chance that you can use the employer for a job reference down the road, you need to make sure that you aren’t acting in a way that will reflect negatively on you or remove the chance that you can use the employer as a reference.
When you think that you have been wrongfully terminated, make sure that you evaluate the situation from a neutral standpoint. Once you do this, you might be able to discern what action you need to take.