man speaking on couch with caption '1. Why am I being fired?' (l) man speaking on couch with captions '2. When do benefits end?' 'Three questions to ask during your termination meeting' (c) man speaking on couch with caption '3. Severance?' (r)

@craigleveyesq/TikTok

‘Keep these questions in mind when fired’: Employment lawyer shares 3 things you should ask if you are getting fired

'It could be valuable evidence.'

 

Braden Bjella

IRL

Posted on Jan 19, 2023

Getting fired is never a fun experience—and when it happens, employees can be left feeling completely out of their depth about what to do or ask their (now former) employer during the exit process.

An employment law attorney attempted to guide viewers through the firing process from the employee’s side. In a video with over 858,000 views, TikTok user Craig D. Levey, Esq. (@craigleveyesq) shared three questions one should ask their employer if they are being let go.

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“Keep these questions in mind when fired,” Levey wrote in the caption of the video.

@craigleveyesq Keep these questions in mind when fired #termination #layoff #employmentlaw #fyp ♬ original sound – The Employment Lawyer

The first question Levey advised asking is, “Why am I being terminated?”

“HR and your supervisor typically will not tell you why you’re being terminated, … but if they do provide you with an answer, it could be valuable evidence if you have a case against the company at a later date,” Levey explained. 

The second question Levey suggested asking is, “When do my benefits end?”

“You want to make sure there’s no lapse in your healthcare coverage, so you want to know exactly when it ends so you can make sure you’re covered,” Levey said.

Finally, Levey said that the final question for soon-to-be ex-employees is, “Will the company be offering me severance?”

“You want to know if the company is preparing a severance agreement for you so that you can assess whether to take it or not,” Levey stated. “That likely means hiring an employment law attorney to determine whether the money on the table is valuable enough if you have claims against the company.”

In the comments section, users shared their firing stories.

“I was told that I was not a good fit. That happened after I raised concerns about the new manager misbehavior,” a user claimed. “So, here i am…”

“I was told I can’t ask questions because they’re not negotiating,” a second recalled. “I was like I get that, but I’m a human worthy of answers.”

“The day before my benefits ended, they fired me for ‘my mental health’. No severance, couldn’t even cash out my left over PTO,” a third alleged.

Users also said that many of these concerns can be alleviated or resolved by taking a few steps prior to getting fired.

“Have a union job who take care of these things for you,” a commenter advised.

“In summary, don’t trust HR. Ever. For real. They are not the workers’ friend or support. They r literally the boss. Stay smart and safe,” a user summarized.

In an email to Daily Dot, Levey further explained the points made in his video.

“HR and company leadership typically do not provide much information to a terminated employee. From the company’s perspective, it does not want to provide details that could result in legal liability. From the employee’s standpoint, there is nothing to lose by asking questions and seeking additional information,” he said. “These answers could prove valuable if the employee has legal claims against the company.”

As for how employees can protect themselves during the termination process, Levey’s advice is simple.

“Employees should try their best to stay calm during termination meetings,” he stated. “Although being fired is often traumatic and emotional, any sort of outburst is not beneficial. Rather, the employee should do their best to stay focused and get as much information as possible before the meeting ends.”

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*First Published: Jan 19, 2023, 9:58 am CST