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Saving the Job

When given a termination slip (or simply ordered to leave), an employee's first reaction is “What will happen now?” If the employee has been part of the organization for a long time, with a decent job record, the first reaction should be “How can I save my job?” Instead of immediately taking the knee-jerk reaction of cleaning out his/her desk or locker, the employee should study the employer's “policies and practices” handbook or other written statement regarding the terms and conditions of employment termination, available from the firm’s human resources (personnel) department or executive.

Go through the rules and regulations in the handbook carefully. It may spell out conditions on how and when the services of an employee can be terminated. If the handbook states that a pre-notice needs to be served before firing any personnel, and if in his/her case this was not followed, then the employee can call this to the employer’s attention, since it is like an agreement. The employee may be reinstated and due procedure may be followed.

If the handbook does not provide the employee with any breather, he/she might think of possible ways to stay with the employer for at least a little while longer—perhaps to extend service time, which might help in fulfilling conditions regarding a pension and retirement plan. The stay—and remaining on the payroll—can also help while looking for other job opportunities.

The employee may also seek out a higher authority for help in retaining or reinstating his/her job. With nothing to lose, it is wise to try every possibility that can help in saving the job.

Points to consider after being served the termination notice:

  • It is hard for an employee to keep his/her mental balance after being served a job termination notice, and then finding no options for keeping the job. He/she is better served by not showing any emotional turmoil in front of colleagues or higher authority. It is always better to stay calm and not indulge in name-calling, since this kind of behavior might hinder any chances of negotiation with authorities or possible future reinstatement. If there is no chance of reinstatement, the ex-employee should walk out of the company with head held high and good relations. Don’t burn your bridges, especially if you’ll be asking for job references.
  • If a company authority is willing to have a word with the employee on possible reinstatement, he/she should be flexible and ready to compromise on certain aspects. Be open to part-time work, contract (freelance) work, a possible transfer to another location, appointment to another position, a lower pay package, etc.
  • If the company fires employees because of poor performance, they may ask the authority to take them back on a probationary basis to determine their job efficiency.

Filing an appeal against wrongful termination

If the employee’s efforts to get back his/her job though informal channels do not work out, he/she may take a formal route. Before taking on outside help, it is advisable to file an appeal via an internal grievances procedure.

  • First, the employee should follow the written official grievance or complaint process and procedures for challenging the termination within the company.
  • Second, there is a stipulated duration during which the employee can file his/her appeal challenging job termination, and must do so only before relevant authorities
  • The employee should make written requests and document all the papers, including any replies to his/her appeal by the designated authority.
  • The manner of the correspondence should be thoroughly professional.

Union employees have an edge when appealing against wrongful termination. Both employees and employers are bounded by the union contract, and there is a provision for neutral arbitrators to hear illegal terminations.

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