At a cutting-edge tech startup, you’re making a difference in the world. Congratulations! Perhaps you also receive a yearly bonus and stock options. But do you have a plan in place for when the workforce suddenly shrinks?
In the unfortunate event that you are wrongfully laid off, or if the corporation is not living up to its half of the contract, having a strategy and understanding what to look for might spare you legal headaches later on. Keep reading to get advice on what to do if you lose your job. Find a lawyer here.
1) Verify the presence of a signed employment agreement.
If you and your employer have a formal employment contract, you may use it as a checklist to see if they followed all the requirements for terminating your job. Some employment contracts, for instance, provide for the employee to give a specified amount of notice prior to the termination of employment. You may have a claim if you were not provided the appropriate amount of notice.
2) Take a breather before putting your signature on anything.
Taking one’s time over substantial decisions is natural and appropriate. Take your time reading over any termination documentation, and think about seeing an employment attorney before signing anything, especially if it involves a release of claims in exchange for severance compensation. Ask HR or the corporate agent nicely if you may study the paperwork before signing it. Then, you and your employment attorney may go over each document in detail to determine how its provisions meet your specific requirements. Spend some time reflecting and consulting with trusted advisors before deciding what you feel confident signing.
3) Don’t be afraid to query!
If you have any queries for the employer, whether concerning your severance package, 401(k), health savings account, stock options, etc., feel free to inquire. Even if you were fired with a “Dear Team” email or otherwise felt unappreciated, you should give this your best go. Ask for contact information as well if you are unsure who to address future inquiries to.
4) Consider the time off with the pay that you’ve taken.
You should double-check the dates that may be relevant and consider the possibility that your business terminated you even though you were on a legitimate leave of absence. Please consult an employment attorney if you have any questions or concerns.