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What Paperwork Should I Receive If I Am Fired?

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If you have the misfortune to be fired, your immediate supervisor usually delivers the news in a private conference just between the two of you. He's very likely to review your employee file, including past performance reviews and written warnings, if any, to demonstrate why the company has made the decision to let you go. He may also give you documents to sign, and you may be too stunned to think clearly about what you're agreeing to. However, be aware that the likely purpose of these signed agreements is to protect the company in case you decide to sue. However, if you feel you were fired illegally and you think you can prove it, you may want to put the pen down.


If you have a paycheck coming, you should receive the full amount of money you're owed, including any overtime earned, fairly quickly. The laws concerning this vary state by state, according to the Nolo website. Some states require this money to be paid immediately, some within a few days and others by the next payday. According to the HR Hero website, your employer is also required by law to make you aware of your rights under COBRA, which in many cases extends the company’s group health insurance program to you, at your own expense, for months after termination. Your employer may include written information about COBRA in any packet he gives you.

Severance Package

Your company may offer you a severance package with benefits such as extended medical coverage or compensation for unused sick or vacation days. You may be offered these benefits in exchange for your signed promise not to sue for wrongful termination. The circumstances of your termination, and the reasons offered for it, should be taken into consideration before you sign.

Employment Records

Your supervisor will review your employment records, such as evaluation reviews and attendance records. He may give you a written statement clearly explaining the reason you're being let go. If you signed a non-compete or nondisclosure agreement when you came to work, you may receive a copy if the agreement will still be in force after you leave.


If you feel, or if you were told, that you were fired for discriminatory reasons; refusing to engage in illegal acts; whistle-blowing or complaining that workplace conditions don't meet federal or state safety standards, you may elect to sue. Federal civil rights laws prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, disability, national origin, color, sex, pregnancy, age or citizenship, according to the HR Hero website. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act also protects whistleblowers against employer retaliation, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act makes it illegal to fire an employee for complaining about OSHA safety violations, according to Nolo.


Mary Strain's first byline appeared in "Scholastic Scope Magazine" in 1978. She has written continually since then and has been a professional editor since 1994. Her work has appeared in "Seventeen Magazine," "The War Cry," "Young Salvationist," "Fireside Companion," "Leaders for Today" and "Creation Illustrated." She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.