People separate from their jobs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania all of the time. Separating from employment can occur in several ways. Some employment separations are forced by the employer while others are voluntary. How you separated from your job is important because it might determine whether you receive severance pay and unemployment compensation. Understanding how you might be affected can also help you to prepare to find a new job. The attorneys at Swartz Swidler may be able to offer guidance about your separation and whether you might be entitled to severance pay and unemployment benefits. If you should receive severance pay, we might also be able to negotiate with your employer to secure a better severance package.
Types of employment separations
There are several types of employment separations, including the following:
- Constructive discharge
- Termination for cause
- Termination by mutual agreement
- Termination with prejudice
- Termination without prejudice
- Involuntary termination
- Voluntary termination
- Wrongful termination
- End of a work contract or temporary employment
A constructive discharge happens when employees quit their jobs under duress. In these situations, the work environment may be hostile, leaving the employees with no choice but to quit. When employers create intolerable work conditions, the employees who quit might have some of the same rights as workers who have been discharged. This includes the right to receive unemployment benefits. If the employer’s actions are deemed to be unlawful, the employee who quit because of a hostile work environment may have a valid claim for wrongful termination.
Employees may be fired without a reason or warning when they violate company policy or have a poor work performance. Some employers might work with employees to try to resolve the issues. Others may place the employees on a probationary period as a warning. However, for at-will employees, employers are not required to work with them or to warn them and can fire them at any time and for any lawful reason. Employers may not fire at-will employees based on their protected statuses, however.
A layoff occurs when an employer has to discharge an employee because of a reduction in the volume of business or a lack of funding. Layoffs might also happen when a reorganization of the company makes the employee’s job no longer necessary. This type of separation from employment may be caused by financial decisions, restructuring, economic changes, attrition, changes in function, or redundancy. A layoff might happen to a single employee or many employees simultaneously.
Termination for cause
Employees who are terminated for cause are fired for misconduct. The misconduct that leads to a termination for cause might include violations of company rules, ethics violations, theft, breaches of contract, harassment, insubordination, violence, and others. Workers who are terminated for cause are not entitled to severance pay and may be ineligible for unemployment benefits.
Termination by mutual agreement
Termination by mutual agreement occurs when the employee and employer consent to the employment separation. This can include a forced resignation, retirement, or the end of a contract. Termination by mutual agreement does not mean that both parties are happy about the employment separation. It simply means that they agreed to the separation to occur.
Termination with prejudice
A job termination with prejudice means that an employee has been fired because of ethical or legal violations, poor attitudes, or poor performance. Employees that are terminated with prejudice are not eligible to be rehired by the former employers.
Termination without prejudice
When an employee is terminated without prejudice, it means that he or she has been separated from the job for reasons other than his or her work performance, attitude, or behavior. Employees who are terminated without prejudice are eligible to be rehired by the company into the same role or a similar one.
An involuntary termination occurs when an employee is fired or laid off from his or her job. Depending on the circumstances, the employee may be eligible for unemployment compensation.
Voluntary termination occurs when an employee decides to retire or resign from his or her job. Employees who voluntarily quit their jobs are not eligible for unemployment compensation.
When en employer terminates an employee for unlawful reasons, a wrongful termination has occurred. Wrongful termination can also happen when the termination violates company policy or an employment contract. These situations might include discrimination, retaliation, and being unwilling to do something illegal for the employer. Employees who have been wrongfully terminated may have grounds to file lawsuits against their former employers.
End of an employment contract or a temporary job
Workers who work under an employment contract or who hold temporary jobs will be separated from their employment once the contract or temporary job ends. Some employers agree to sign new contracts or extend temporary jobs, however.
Types of resignations
There are a couple of types of job resignations. A resignation happens when an employee decides to quit his or her job on his or her own. Most employers ask employees who resign to provide written notice a few weeks in advance.
A forced resignation occurs when an employer tells an employee that he or she must either quit or be fired. In some cases, a forced resignation may be a constructive discharge.
When an employee retires, he or she chooses to stop working after he or she reaches a specific age and tenure requirements that have been agreed to by the employer or negotiated by a union. Mandatory retirement is limited to certain occupations in which workers are deemed to pose a risk to themselves or the public because of age-related diminished capacities. Examples of professions that have mandatory retirements include air traffic controllers, pilots, and law enforcement officers.
Some employees go through a phased retirement. This occurs when an older worker reduces his or her working hours over several months in advance of his or her retirement date.
Get help from Swartz Swidler
How you were separated from your job might determine your eligibility for severance pay and unemployment compensation. It also might determine whether you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against your former employer. Talk to the attorneys at Swartz Swidler to learn about your rights by filling out our contact form or calling 856.685.7420.