If you are terminated from your job, it can be difficult to deal with and to understand. You might struggle with being fired despite knowing that your job might be in trouble. It can be even more painful if your boss fires you in an impersonal manner such as over the telephone.
While it would be better for your employer to meet with you in person and to terminate you in a tactful manner, there is no requirement for an employer to act nicely when you are fired. In many cases, employers are allowed to fire you without warning and to deliver the news however they want. To learn more about when terminations might be illegal, talk to the professional employment law team at Swartz Swidler.
Can you get fired over the phone or by email?
In most cases, employers are not restricted in the manner in which they can terminate their employees. Unless you have a contract for employment that outlines how you can be fired, your employer can fire you in any manner in which it wants. This means that employers are able to fire their employees by letter, by email, in person, over the phone, or by text message.
A majority of employers understand that firing employees by email, text message, or phone would be detrimental to their companies. Typically, these methods of termination are not a part of company policy. Firing employees in this way could harm employee morale. News about terminations quickly spread through companies, and if the manner in which an employee was fired was insensitive, it can harm the retention and productivity of the other employees.
Many employers have company policies in place for how their staff members can be fired from their jobs. In most cases, the termination process will involve meeting with a representative from human resources. Together with the HR person, the employee will then talk about the terms of the termination and may be asked to sign a document in which the termination is detailed. In some cases, employees are given warnings and given the opportunity to make improvements. Unless the company’s policy or employment contract stipulates that a warning must be given, it is not a requirement for termination.
There are many reasons why firing employees by text, email, or phone is not a good policy. However, there is not a legal prohibition against terminating employees in such an insensitive way. In many cases, your employer can fire you in any way that it wants.
Unless your job is covered by an employment contract that outlines how a termination should be communicated to you, your company can tell you in whichever way that it wants.
The normal termination process
Most companies do have their own processes for how to terminate employees. The process often involves meeting with an HR representative or a member of management. The HR or management representative will then talk about the conditions of your termination and how your benefits will be affected. Most companies want to document the terminations and will want you to sign a document stating that you were notified that you were fired.
What to do if you are fired from your job
No matter how you learn of your termination, make certain that your employer gives you the benefits that are listed in your employment contract or employee manual. These benefits might include unused vacation pay, unused sick pay, and severance pay.
If your employer fires you in an insensitive manner, do not retaliate. While retaliating against your employer might seem like a good idea at the time, doing so can create ill will and cause a backlash if future employers ask about your employment record when you look for a new job.
It is possible that your termination could amount to wrongful termination in some situations. Wrongful termination occurs when an employer fires an employee for an illegal reason. For example, employers are prohibited from firing employees because of their protected characteristics or because they engaged in protected activities. If you think that your employer fired you for an illegal reason, it is possible for you to get help.
Talk to an experienced employment lawyer
Regardless of whether your firing was unlawful, you should understand that anyone can be terminated. Do not dwell on the fact that you lost your job. Instead, you should focus on your next steps. If you are unsure whether your termination might have been illegal, you should talk to an experienced attorney at Swartz Swidler. We can review what happened in your case and tell you whether you might have a claim for wrongful termination. Schedule a consultation today by filling out our online contact form or by calling us.