The termination of employment can
result in significant problems for an employee including the loss of
income, health benefits, and most importantly, the loss of the
terminated employee's credibility and employment value.
Significant shifts in the
economy, market and company status have resulted in a decrease in
company loyalty and an increase in the number of terminations of
quality employees for reasons other than cause. As a result an
employee targeted for termination can either accept the termination
passively and suffer the consequences associated with being
unemployed, or the employee can take action to minimize the negative
impacts that are associated with a loss of employment.
While most companies will state
publicly that a termination decision is a right they can exercise "at
will" and that the employee has no right to oppose it, privately they
concede that their goal is to expedite the conclusion of a termination
process at the earliest possible time with the least difficulty.
This private attitude of most
companies to conclude a termination quickly provides an opportunity
for all employees to negotiate their termination.
The Negotiation of a Termination Requires Affirmative Action
If an employee targeted for
termination is to negotiate their termination it will be necessary for
the employee to initiate the action required to create the leverage
necessary for the company to agree to entering into the termination
negotiation process. It is highly predictable that the first
response of the company will be to reject the employee's attempt to
negotiate the termination, but will amend this decision if it is clear
that the employee is prepared to take action against the company that
will extend the time and cost associated with the termination.
What Can be Done to Get a Company to Engage Negotiating a Termination
The approaches to getting a
company to engage in negotiating a termination can be informal and
formal. It is wise for the employee to initiate the process be
introducing the desire to negotiate a termination informally.
This can be done by either seeking a meeting with a employer decision
maker and outlining a rationale that justifies the employees
entitlement to some form of termination benefit. The success of
this approach will greatly depend on how persuasive and compelling the
rationale presented by the employee is.
The employee should be prepared
to escalate any informal demand to negotiate a termination that fails
to a more formal level. There are several avenues that can be
taken to make a formal demand to negotiate a termination. The
most compelling is to first is to pose the threat of legal action if
the termination is not negotiated, and then the initiation of legal
actions if the threat of action fails.
Traditionally, legal action can
mean costly legal fees. However, all employees have the right to
initiate legal action "pro se" (without and attorney). What is
required to transform a threat of legal action is the format required
to make a pro se legal filing, the outline of a complaint detailing a
reasonable "cause of action" against the employer and the payment of a
nominal filing fee.
It is likely that this action
will cause the employer to concede to negotiate the termination.
What Should be Demanded in a Negotiation of a Termination
The negotiation of a termination
is primarily carried out to protect the interests of the terminated
employee. As a result the topics to be included in the
negotiation process should include the following:
Extended health benefits
Protection against the unanticipated
consequences of termination to credibility and employability
through assurances of non-disclosure and confidentiality
Control over references
Reimbursement for any
expense related to obtaining new employment
Any other issue that may negatively impact on
the employee's ability to achieve new employment.
Career Problem Solving Services
can help guide their clients through the process required to achieve
the goals associated with negotiating a termination. If you are
ready to take action regarding a termination please complete the CPSS
Information Form by clicking
HERE or contact a member of the CPSS staff by clicking