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Employee Rights After Being Fired

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After being fired from a job, employees maintain a certain level of rights when it comes to the workplace. This includes a number of benefits retained regardless of the reasons for termination. In addition, certain firings can be considered violations of legal rights, prompting you to be able to pursue legal action.


If you are fired from a job, the employer usually cannot take your retirement money. As long as you are vested, the retirement money is yours. If you are partially vested, only some of the money can be retained.


Health insurance from a company of 20 or more employees is part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). This allows you to retain health coverage for up to 18 months after termination.


After being fired because of a layoff, closure or other reason, you generally can collect unemployment compensation. The only exception to this rule is if someone is terminated due to insubordination or a violation of company policy.


If you are wrongfully terminated, you can generally follow the channels for a lawsuit or work with the union for just compensation. However, many contracts deem employees as “at will” workers, meaning they can be terminated at a moments notice for any reason.


When an employee is terminated for being a whistle blower, the employer is committing an act in violation of the law. This generally occurs if you report violations to the government or participate in an investigation or lawsuit.



About the Author

Jason Chavis has been a professional freelance writer since 1998. He is the author of four books, two movies and a play as well as numerous articles for "Scientific American," The History Channel, City Pages and "The Onion." In 1996, Chavis won the award for "best science fiction/fantasy" from the River Valley Writer’s Conference.