How Unemployment Works

Can This Job Be Saved?

To start, imagine that you just got fired. Is it actually possible to save your job? Let’s see what you can do.

If you have been fired for a clear cause, it may be difficult to save your job, but if the reasons are unclear, if you aren’t an at-will employee or if you are subject to a layoff or downsizing, it may be possible to hang on to your job, if only for a little while. First, consult your employee handbook or personnel manual. Find out if there is an official grievance process you can pursue and who can reinstate you. If filing a grievance, make sure you do it promptly within the required period of time. Union employees generally have a great advantage here as they have clearly defined appeal procedures, and union officials can offer help and representation.

Contact the person highest up the chain of command but within reason. Approaching the manager of your department may be a wise move, but e-mailing the CEO of the multinational corporation that just fired you is likely not. As in all matters related to losing your job, do your best to remain composed and respectful.

If you are desperate to stay employed to retain benefits, achieve a retirement or pension threshold or to have a source of income while looking for a new job, consider offering to do part-time, contract or temporary work. You could also offer to accept a smaller pay package. If your firing was based on poor performance, ask if you can resume work on a probationary basis. In the case of a downsizing or corporate restructuring, requesting to transfer to a different office or to fill a different position may allow you to stay employed.

However, most of the time you will not able to reverse a firing (or you may not want to). For what to do next, see the following page.