They Are Going To Fire Me!

Stephen W. HogieEmployment Law Blog

Fire Me

They Are Going To Fire Me!

              At Hogie & Campbell we often get calls from employees who say two things: “I think they are going to fire me.” and “Can they fire me?”.  These employees often think that a lawyer’s immediate intervention will save their job; most of the time these employees are wrong.

              But, speaking with a lawyer now can still help the about to be fired employees’ protect their rights. Here’s how:

Written Complaint to Human Resources or Management

              Proving that you complained to the company about the problem or discrimination can often be very difficult.  An email sent from your personal email can be a good choice.  Make sure that you keep copies of all doctor’s notes.

Make sure you have copies of other important documents

              When you are fired it is important to have copies of important documents: Employment Policy and Handbook; your Job Description;  any communications between you and Human Resources;  communications between you and your supervisor; and any other relevant documents.

              Paper copies are the surest approach.  Storing the documents at home or in your car will make sure that you have what you need if management fires you and walks you out of the building.

              However, you must NOT take secret company information like customer lists or other potential trade secrets.

DON’T tape conversations

              Even if you are sure that taping will “prove” that you are right, DON’T do it.  Generally in California it is illegal to tape conversations.  We recommend that you send a confirming email after any important conversation to the speaker outlining what you believe they said (don’t forget to keep a copy).

Keep a Log

              In the moment, you may believe that you will never forget an event, but you will.  The exact details are easiest to capture right after they occur.  Limit your log to employment problems and avoid mixing in personal things.

Contacts

              If a co-worker has witnessed something about your case, make sure you have their contact information: full name, home address, mobile phone number, and personal email address.  Do it now, it will be much harder if you are no longer at the company.

Social Media

              When things get tough at the job, you don’t need co-workers spying on your Facebook page.  Defriend them and change your privacy settings.  Having work friends is usually a bad idea for all of us when it comes to social media.  You also should take a good look at the photos of you which are posted.  Some of the most embarrassing things show up in lawsuits.

Look for a New Job

              Update you resume.  Get reference letters, if possible from appropriate co-workers.  Circulate your resume.  Finding a new job makes losing the old one less disruptive.

Performance Improvement Plans (PIPs), Bad Reviews and Exit Interview

              Companies will often use these tools to later justify the termination.  It is important that you get your side of the story included. Include your comments on their write up.  Do NOT refuse to sign the write up.  It is okay to ask for 24 hours to review the document before signing it.  Get a copy with your comments included.

Severance Agreements

              Do NOT sign them unless you are sure that you have no lawsuit.  These agreements generally give away any rights that you may have against the company.  The company cannot require that you sign any agreement to get your final paycheck.

Contact Us. Our Advice is 100% Confidential.

              If your wondering ” Will they fire me?”, the time to get legal advice is while you are still employed.  There are many things that can be done which will either improve or destroy your case.  We will help you make the right decisions. Hogie & Campbell will discuss your situation at no cost to you to help you determine whether you need to take action to protect your rights. Call for a Free Consultation at (714) 508-6422.

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