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Many terminated workers simply accept being fired as the end of the line with the companies that fired them, but that doesn't have to be the case. Depending on the job, the circumstances and the company, you might have options to get your job back. Union workers can turn to grievance processes, for example. Even when you only represent yourself, you might be able to change the company's mind by providing proof of your value.
Whether you plan a union appeal or are on your own, it is important to stay poised and professional after getting fired. Hurling insults at your supervisor or breaking company equipment on your way out the door is certain to seal it shut behind you. While fear, grief and anger are common emotions after receiving word of a termination, take time to calm yourself before reacting. Maintaining a level of professional dignity is the only way to succeed in asking for your job back.
File a Grievance
One reason employees form and participate in unions is to protect themselves against unfair or unjust termination. If your work performance contradicts your manager's reasons for termination, you may have grounds for a grievance appeal. An appeal is also an option if you can prove the grounds for an immediate termination were unjust or contradict your collective bargaining agreement. Contact your union representative to discuss your appeal options. Collective bargaining agreements between employers and unions outline formal grievance processes.
Show Your Worth
In some cases, a manager might fire a worker for poor performance without realizing the worker's actual contribution or his economic value to the firm. In this case, contact your boss after you've had time to gather documentation that can serve as proof of your value. Ask if he would be willing to meet with you to discuss the possibility of you returning to the company, and let him know that you will provide evidence that your work directly led to significant revenue-generation or cost-savings. If you reduced overhead costs in a department by 20 percent, explain that, providing exact numbers and data to back up your case. If you directly contributed to profit increases that exceed your income, an economically sensible manager should recognize your value. Operate with the assumption that the manager simply didn't know about, or give full credence to, your economic benefits to the firm.
Go to Court
In extreme situations, like when you believe your firing violates the law, you can take your employer to court. Federal, state and local laws protect you from termination under certain circumstances. For example, employers can't typically fire you based on your race, age or gender. If you can prove that you delivered positive value to the employer, and believe you were the victim of an unlawful termination, you might win your job back and even receive financial damage awards in court. Just realize that going to court to get your job back may cause tension or awkwardness in the workplace.
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Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.