Losing a job is one of the most challenging things that can happen to anyone. It takes time to recover from the initial shock, and it may take months or years to recoup lost income. In addition, there are other challenges related to being unemployed: changes with your health insurance, worry and negative feelings, and the potential for getting depressed and anxious about your prospects. Learn what to do if you’ve been terminated from your job.
Important Steps to Take if You've Been Terminated from Your Job
It doesn't matter why you've been terminated from your job—the important thing is to take action right away. For example, if you feel that there are mitigating circumstances related to your termination or disagree with what happened, don't just sit around and hope for the best.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
If you've been fired from a job, the first thing you should do is ask your employer for an explanation. It is your right, and it's essential to get as much information as possible. In particular, find out why you were fired and whether or not you are eligible for severance pay or other benefits. There is nothing wrong with being assertive and asking for what you deserve.
Once you have all of the facts, start documenting everything related to your termination: conversations with your employer, letters and emails from your company, etc. This documentation will be essential if you decide to take legal action.
You can do this by keeping a journal or creating a file on your computer. The important thing is to ensure that everything related to your termination is kept safe and organized.
Have a Copy of Your Employment Contract
It's always a good idea to have a copy of your employment contract, just in case there are any disputes down the road. This document will outline the terms and conditions of your employment, as well as your rights as an employee.
If you don't have a copy of your contract, ask your employer for one so that you can keep it safe. It may be your only proof of what you are legally entitled to.
Consider Speaking to an Attorney
If you're unsure what to do next or feel like your rights have been violated, it's wise to speak with an attorney. An attorney can help you understand the extent of your situation and determine if your termination was legal. Or, you may have grounds for a wrongful termination or other lawsuit.
Get Help from a Counselor if Necessary
After being terminated, it's normal to feel a range of emotions: sadness, anger, confusion, frustration. If you're feeling overwhelmed or like you can't cope, it may be helpful to speak with a counselor. A counselor can provide support and guidance as you go through this challenging time by teaching you how to adjust to being unemployed.
Take Care of Yourself
Being unemployed can take a toll on your physical and mental health. Make sure to take care of yourself by eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising. These things will help you feel better mentally and emotionally, which will make the post-termination phase more bearable.
The last thing you want is to get sick or depressed; this can make it more challenging to adjust to your situation.
Get Good Advice on Unemployment Benefits
One of the first things you should do after being terminated is to apply for unemployment benefits. If possible, speak with a peer or counselor who has successfully filled out an unemployment benefits application. They can ensure that you have the best possible chance of being approved in the shortest time possible.
Shift Your Focus to the Future
If you find yourself unemployed, don't just sit around and hope for the best. Instead, take immediate action by asking your employer for an explanation, documenting your situation, speaking with an attorney, seeking support from a counselor if necessary, keeping a copy of your employment contract, taking care of yourself, and applying for unemployment benefits.
When you take care of these details, you may find that getting terminated is not as bad as it seems, and in some cases, it can even be a blessing in disguise.
Brandon J. Broderick, Employment Law, New Jersey and New York
If you believe you were wrongfully terminated or are experiencing wrongful conduct, discrimination or harassment in the workplace, Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, can help. As an employment law firm with offices in New Jersey and New York, we are focused on client care and passionately pursuing the best interests of our clients. Contact us today for a free consultation.