KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

WHAT DO I DO IF I'VE BEEN FIRED?

Getting fired is never a good experience, especially when it happens during one of the worst economic downturns we have ever seen. However, if you happen to be one of the many millions of hard-working Americans that have recently been fired due to COVID-19, its important to know your rights during this time.

Even though employers don't necessarily have to give you a reason for your termination, having some understanding of why you have been fired, furloughed or laid off is helpful. Try to determine if your firing is really due to the pandemic and not just your employer's excuse to end your employment because of discrimination or a retaliation. If you do feel like you have been fired due to potential discrimination, harassment, or retaliatory reason, you may have a claim for wrongful termination.

Also, understanding the status of your separation with the company is essential. For example, have you been furloughed or laid off? Often times, employees that have been furloughed may have more benefits than those that have been laid off or fired. Furloughed employees might still be eligible to receive employment benefits such as health insurance and 401(k) contributions during their unpaid leave. Additionally, they are more likely to get asked back to work when the economy opens up again.

It is also beneficial to understand if you may be owed wages at the time of your separation with the company. For example, are there any unpaid wages such as hourly pay, overtime, commissions or bonuses? You may be owed wages without even knowing. Here are some potential tell-tale signs your former employer may owe you wages:

  • your job classified you as a salaried worker but you worked long hours without overtime pay
  • you got paid a day rate or per diem but received no overtime pay/incorrect overtime pay when working long hours
  • you were an hourly worker but often had to complete work off the clock or during your own time, such as working through lunch or before or after shifts began/ended
If you have experienced any of these situations above, you may be owed back pay by your former employer.

The most important thing to take away from all of this, is that you still have options even though you have just been fired. You have rights and deserve to know what you are eligible to recover. Keep a record or log of all the information you've been given with regard to your termination and speak to an employment attorney. We offer a free and confidential phone consultation and your documentation will be helpful in better understanding your situation. Feel free to call us or contact us here.

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FITAPELLI & SCHAFFER LLP


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