What are some of the Rights of an Employee that has been Fired?

What are some of the Rights of an Employee that has been Fired?

Date: January 04, 2023

Severance package, healthcare coverage, etc., are some of the rights of an employee if they have been terminated by the employer. In this blog, we are discussing the conditions of these rights in detail.

2022 has been a tough year for the job market in the USA and across the globe. And, most employees and employers have felt its effect. Before the year ended, many big names like DoorDash, Amazon, Meta, Twitter, and Zillow among others announced layoffs of some percentages of employees. However, even 2023 is expected to bring a global recession and impact the job market negatively. 

From the perspective of an employee, if you have already been a part of the crowd that got fired from work or if in the future it happens, it is crucial to know that terminating an employee comes with a few repercussions for employers. There are a few rights of an employee that everyone with employment in the USA has. These rights could be health insurance, severance pay, extended benefits, and more. 

So, in this blog, we are going to list down some of these crucial laws for termination of employment that also define your rights in case you go through the layoff yourself. 

Basic rights of workers if fired from the job

On the basis of several categories, employees fired have various rights. Let’s have a look at them so you know what you should do if you have ever been fired from a job.

1. Severance Pay

One of the many termination rules for employees that can be of little help includes severance pay. After getting fired from a job, employees are liable for a severance package that is given apart from the lump sum payment that the fired employee is supposed to receive. A severance package can be a payment for a period of time, health insurance, or some outplacement program service. 

However, it is crucial to understand that in states like California, if a company terminates an employee, it is not mandatory for them to pay severance packages to terminated employees. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not make it mandatory for the employer to pay severance to terminated employees. However, there are certain conditions that may make employees eligible for severance according to the laws for termination of employment. These conditions are-

  • If the contract between employer and employee discusses any form of severance on termination;
  • If there is a company policy existing already regarding severance pay;
  • If the employer has made an oral promise to pay severance on termination;
  • If the employer has been paying severance to the previously terminated employees as well.

If any of the above-mentioned conditions are existing, an employer is mandated to pay the severance package to the fired employee. If not, then it can be considered a breach of contract by concerned authorities.

2. Unemployment Insurance (UI) Compensation

If among the reasons to terminate an employee, misconduct by the employee is not included, then the employee can be eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) compensation as well. The tenure of the UI compensation can vary between 12 weeks to 28 weeks. State-wise rules to define the tenures of UI compensation are different. 

However, it is crucial to understand that you can only get the UI compensation if you have not voluntarily resigned from the job or if you have not been fired due to any misconduct. Not being qualified enough or financial issues of the employer can be some of the few reasons to terminate an employee that make the employee eligible for the UI compensation claims. 

Because your skills matter even if you had been terminated and can be useful for any other organization, these government agencies want to ensure that you are stable enough to find a new opportunity where you can contribute again, thus UI compensations exist. To take an example, Massachusetts is the state that pays the highest UI compensation amount on terminating an employee. As of December 2022, this amount is $1,105. The amount of UI compensation is decided by the state agencies of each state in the US. 

3. Health Coverage

Another right employees have if fired from a job is health coverage. According to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1986, for a limited period of time, employees and their family members have the right to keep healthcare coverage. The law makes it mandatory for the employer with 20 or more employees to offer the option of continued participation in the employer’s health insurance plan. The employee pays the cost of the coverage and typically pays up to 102% of the plan’s cost. 

4. Final Paycheck

In any case, whether voluntary or involuntary unemployment, state, and federal laws cover how soon the terminated employee should get their full and final paycheck. For instance, in Mississippi and Georgia, federal law mandates that employers should issue the final paycheck of the employee on or before the usual payday for the last period of the employee in the organization. 

Under some employment rights acts of various states, it can also be mandated for employers to issue final checks sooner than their regular paydays. Take California for example. Here, if you had been fired then you deserve the final check immediately. Massachusetts also makes it mandatory for employers to issue the final check immediately according to the laws for termination of employment. Texas, however, has provided a maximum of six days to employers to issue the final check according to the rights of an employee that has been fired.

What are the termination rules for employees if they have not received their paycheck?

Well, in a case where you have not been paid after the layoff and the ex-employer has failed to satisfy you with any clarifications, you can file a complaint with the local Department of Labor (DOL), Wage and Hour Division office. Further, a Department of Labor (DOL) officer will assist you. You can also contact the State Labor Agencies of your state to file complaints. 

laws for termination of employment


Wrapping up

Well, that is all for this blog that we drafted to help employees fired in the USA. In this blog, we covered some of the basic rights of workers that may be common or applicable to most of the states in the USA. However, it is recommended that you should check local sites of state labor agencies to get in-depth and updated information that might vary depending on the situation and developments in the job markets.

Arpit Dubey

By Arpit Dubey LinkedIn Icon

Arpit is a dreamer, wanderer, and a tech nerd who loves to jot down tech musings and updates. With a logician mind, he is always chasing sunrises and tech advancements while secretly preparing for the robot uprising.

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