At Caldecott & Forro, PLC, we regularly represent people who have just been laid off, subject to a reduction in force, pink slipped, or fired. All these terms mean the same thing, you’re unemployed. We are keenly aware that a rush of emotions, including a sense of betrayal, depression, anger and revenge, arise in many newly unemployed people.
This article is a “to do list” for newly unemployed people. It will help you move forward productively. Our recommendations are as follows:
- Avoid any harsh comments or what we sometime refer to as “bridge burning” behavior. Where your next letter or recommendation might come from can be difficult to determine at the time of a discharge. Consider attending meetings with a counselor to help you process your emotions.
- Unless you are getting a severance package (described below), file for unemployment insurance immediately. Claims can take time to process and it is important to maintain your cash flow.
- Request a complete copy of your personnel file in writing. All discharged employees are entitled to procure a copy of their personnel file pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 181.961 subd. 2(c). You should obtain and carefully review your personnel file.
- If you are offered a severance package, review it carefully with an attorney who has employment law and litigation experience. Provisions to look for include: severance pay, continuation of health insurance, proportional bonus payments, outplacement services, a prototype letter of recommendation, references, sick leave pay out, and vacation payout. Also, remember to roll your 401(k) over into a tax protected account such as an IRA.
- Discuss with your attorney whether your discharge might be discriminatory, retaliatory, or otherwise wrongful. Your attorney can help you identify whether you are a member of a protected class of employees, qualify as a whistle blower, or have rights under a written agreement or union contract.
Remember, you or your loved one was a valuable and productive member of society before you, or they, were discharged and nothing has changed.
This article is not a substitute for legal advice in the context of a specific case. Caldecott & Forro, P.L.C provides free initial consultations to clients and potential clients on all employment law and civil litigation matters.