Most people equate the loss of a job with the end of their income, health insurance and other employee rights. Imagine losing your job after more than 10 years of loyal service. How are you going to pay your mortgage or make your car payments? What if it takes months to find another job that offers a comparable salary?
Fortunately, your rights as an employee do not end at the moment your employer terminates your position. For example, you still have the right to pick up your final paycheck. You also have the option to continue your health insurance on your own. In addition, you might be able to file for unemployment benefits or negotiate a severance package with your employer.
If you have recently lost your job and your employer is refusing to hand over your last paycheck or you are unsure about your severance pay, an experienced employment law attorney area can help. Read further for more information on your rights after a job loss.
Texas, like many states, is an employment-at-will state. This means that if you work in the private sector, your employer can let you go at any time for any reason. While this seems like it gives the employer a lot of leeway to fire employees, there are certain practices that are illegal.
If your termination violated an employment contract, explicit or implied, then your boss may have unlawfully fired you. Also, you employer cannot fire you for attending jury duty or complying with military orders. In addition, your boss cannot terminate you for refusing to participate in illegal acts or for reporting illegal acts. The law also prohibits termination as a retaliatory act, such as when an employer retaliates against an employee for taking FMLA leave or reporting a workplace injury.
In some cases, a company may offer severance packages to terminated employees. Accepting such a package usually acts as promise that you will not sue the company as a result of the termination. Usually, severance packages include things such as continued pay for a specific amount of time, health insurance coverage, and possibly even help finding other employment.
You might be entitled to a severance package if it was part of your original employment contract. If the employee handbook also specified workers' rights to severance pay, you might be able to claim a package after your termination. Furthermore, if your employer has offered severance pay to other employees or made an oral agreement with you concerning one, you may have a legal right to demand such a package.
Under federal law, if your employer has 20 or more employees, he or she must allow you the option of continuing your health insurance coverage under the employer plan for at least a limited amount of time. You may also be able to file for unemployment compensation. This will allow you to receive some compensation while you are looking for a new job.
If you have recently been terminated from your job, it is important to remember that you still have rights. From receiving your last paycheck to maintaining your health insurance, make sure you take the necessary steps to ensure you receive all the benefits you have available.
With that in mind, it is a good idea to have an employment lawyer review your severance package before you agree to it. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may be able to negotiate for a better severance agreement.