April 20, 2021
1. Don’t sign right away.
Never sign a severance agreement in a hurry. You should take the time to make sure the deal is suitable for what you need. Remember that you will be bound by any agreement you sign.
If you are presented with a settlement agreement with a decent amount of cash (or any amount of cash), you may be tempted to sign and take the money. But this may not be the best option for you. You can negotiate the terms for a severance agreement to suit your needs.
2. Do not steal
You may feel like you were fired because you were discriminated against or subjected to other illegal actions, and you will want to gather evidence. But you cannot obtain evidence illegally. This does not mean that you cannot make copies of communications that are specifically addressed to you. But do not take confidential documents with you. And most importantly, do not take or destroy company equipment.
3. Don’t talk too much. Silence is better for now.
You will be tempted to tell everyone how horrible your employer is. You will be tempted to tell everyone you know about your plans to sue, and social media will make it easy to share information, but you must resist the temptation.
Remember that nothing you post ever truly disappears, and it can harm you. Anyone you discuss the situation with can be used as witnesses against you, especially if they are still working for your former employer.
4. Do not wait. Look for a new job.
Even if the dismissal was not your fault, you have an obligation to find a new job. You can’t just sit around hoping that you will eventually get a great deal from your employer. Any legal action you take against your former employer will require you to provide evidence that you sought a new job.
5. Don’t go alone. Find a lawyer.
Determining if you have a claim against your former employer can involve complex issues. There will be deadlines to meet. Specific facts will determine the exact claims you can file; others will decide if your claims can be filed in state or federal court. The nature of your claims will determine whether you can immediately file the claim in court or whether you must first file that claim with an administrative agency.
Find an attorney who specializes in employment law.