Picture this: Your boss unexpectedly calls you into a meeting. You are wondering what’s wrong. You walk over to your boss’ office and are surprised to see that the company’s HR person is also there. Then like a ton of bricks it hits you: Out of nowhere, you are told that you are being fired from your job. You are totally shocked and upset. Your mind is racing at a million miles per hour. You are thinking about how you are going to survive without an income, how you are going to tell your friends and family, how this is going to look on your resume, and why you are so unlucky.

Should you ever find yourself in this unpleasant scenario it is important to remember to stay calm and collected. Once you are out that door, the chances of getting a straight answer from your employer will diminish greatly. You should therefore find out your employer’s reason for the termination. If at all possible be sure to ask for a copy of your termination letter (or other writing). Here are 3 reasons why a termination letter is important:

  1. A termination letter locks in the employer’s reason for the termination. Many times, especially after their lawyers come into the picture, an employer tries to comes up with new excuses for why they fired an employee. However, if the employee has a termination letter which states the reasons for the termination, the employer will find it harder to later change its story.
  1. A termination letter locks in the date of termination. The date of the termination is very important because there are many deadlines that apply to making claims against an employer. Employers often argue that employees have missed a deadline and are prevented from bringing their claims. However, if the employee has a termination letter with the effective date of termination, this dispute about the date may be avoided.
  1. A termination letter disproves arguments that the employee quit. Believe it or not, some employers will – after firing an employee – claim that they did no such thing, and that it was in fact the employee who voluntarily quit or abandoned his or her job. This is often done for strategic reasons to avoid liability. However, if the employee has a termination letter, the employer cannot reasonably argue that it never fired the employee.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information provided here is not legal advice. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal advice unless and until it is formally retained, and an attorney client contract is signed. Each case is unique. The laws may or may not apply to your particular situation. This should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Some jurisdictions may have laws and regulations that differ substantially from one another. The Akopyan Law Firm does not provide legal services, or practice law outside of the State of California. You should always consult an attorney in your jurisdiction regarding any specific legal issue.