Keeping Your Job
Keeping your job usually requires working within the system. This means following the chain of command, paying close attention to company politics, and being familiar with/obeying all workplace rules and policies. It also means being assertive and asking your employer for accommodations that can help improve your performance.
If it looks like you could lose your job,
confide in a trustworthy employee who's been around for a while. Senior
employees are invaluable resources. Often they can help you navigate those
hidden pitfalls inherent in almost every corporate culture.
Don't wait until your performance review falls on you like a ton of bricks. If you know you're not making the grain, take action now.
Make a list of where you are falling short and why.
Decide what can be done to help you improve, master the skills, etc.
Ask your supervisor for some or all of the
desired accommodations. For example:
"I know my performance would improve if I had more training, was moved away from the sunlight or could sit in a quiet place far from the door."
Email your supervisor a brief thank you letter for honoring some or all of your requests. If none of your requests were honored, write a thank you note anyway. For example: Thanks for listening to me about my concerns. I want you to know I will continue to give the company my best. I understand that these requests cannot be honored at this time. Perhaps all I need is just a little more practice. Please let me know if my performance becomes a problem and I'll do whatever I can to correct it. (For your own personal records, make sure that you forward or blind copy or bcc your letter to your personal home email address. Do not "cc" it as such may alarm your employer that your are sending copies to yourself).
After a negative performance review, send
another brief email thanking them for the feedback. If appropriate, tactfully
introduce that you believe your performance would improve if...(write in your
desired request from your checklist). Make sure this email is also sent to
yourself for your records.
Again, always, make copies of all correspondence, warnings, reviews, etc., between you and your employer.
Familiarize yourself with the employer's rules and policies. If the handbook says you need a doctor's note, get a doctor's note. If the rules require you call in absent before a certain time, or must speak to a certain person, make sure you do so. The same goes with following their leave or vacation policies. You've got to comply with the rules or have a good reason for not doing so.
Be sure to make copies of all notes, or other correspondence between you and your employer. Also make an attendance log, noting the dates, times and reasons why you were late or absent. If you called in absent or late, note on the log who you spoke to and when. This log may come in handy if there is a change in supervisors or some mix-up where you are wrongfully accused of not following the rules. Also note anything else on the log that may be important. For example, if your supervisor said this absence would not be counted against you, write that down too.
Problems with Coworkers and Supervisors
Familiarize yourself with the company's chain of command and follow it to the letter. Just who are you supposed to go to when a problem arises? Usually the answer is found in your company handbook. Keep copies of all emails and other correspondence between you and the employer. Focus on solving the problem rather than making someone else look bad. In this way, the company can avoid the appearance of taking sides and the issue can be resolved with less resentment. Never put the company in a position where they have to choose between you and your supervisor. If you make it extra hard on them, sooner or later it will come back on you.
For example: Instead of saying "my supervisor is out to get me. He's unfair and should be fired"...." You could say: "there seems to be a communication problem between me and my supervisor. I do my job to the best of my abilities but for whatever reason, we just don't see eye to eye. I've tried to explain the problem to him but we just don't connect. I'm asking that I (be put on the day shift, reassigned to another supervisor, meet with HR, etc...). Thank you for your time." (Make a log of what happened, when it happened and who you spoke to/emailed. For record keeping purposes, forward all emails to yourself at home).
Protecting Yourself Before You Become Unemployed
So, you're about to quit your job? Or, it's obvious from the writing on the wall that you're about to be terminated. So now what do you do? Well the first thing you need to do is protect yourself. This means gathering all the documents that can help you later if you decide to sue or file for unemployment.
Forward all emails about your performance, complaints, or policy changes to your home email address.
Obtain a copy of your employer handbook and of any other rules and policies. This could include corporate memos, emails, notices, etc.
Gather together all your warnings, evaluations, reviews, awards and other correspondence. Also include any logs or other notes you have taken. These should be quietly removed from the workplace at your first opportunity.
Forward or print out your company Employee Address Book. You may later need to contact these people or call them as witnesses.
Quietly find out if others are experiencing problems similar to yours and get a feel for the ones you can contact later.
Forward or print out the company chart on who reports to who. (This can be invaluable to show widespread corruption or that you worked through the chain or command, etc.)
Protecting Yourself After You're Unemployed
So now you're unemployed. At this point, you must decide if you're going to file for unemployment, sue in court or just move on.
Filing A Lawsuit
For the evidence you'll need, see Protecting Yourself Before You Become Unemployed (Consumer-SOS)
For other legal assistance, see Lawyers, Courts and Self Help (Consumer-SOS)
And Issues in the Workplace (Consumer-SOS)
See also Losing Or Leaving Your Job (Consumer-SOS)
Filing For Unemployment Benefits
Did you quit for a good cause and try to
work it out with the employer? Were
you fired or let go for
reasons not your fault? This is often what will determine if you receive
Unemployment hearings will almost always involve your former employer. So be ready with all your evidence. This includes having all relevant witnesses as well as the documents you gathered while still employed. For information on unemployment hearings, go to your state Department of Labor and study their handouts carefully. From their handouts you can learn how to subpoena witnesses and where you should send copies of your evidence.
For More Information See
Losing Or Leaving Your Job (Consumer-SOS)
A Checklist of What
to Bring To The Hearing
Checklist of What To Bring To Your Hearing
There are two hearings where you can present evidence. Your first hearing is with a claims examiner. It is informal, quick and almost always over the phone. You won't have much time to present your case and you have a good chance of losing no matter what you do. The second hearing occurs when you appeal. An appeals hearing is very much like a formal court proceeding. Whether over the phone or in person, you'll have a chance to confront your employer and even cross examine them. They in turn will also have the same opportunity to cross examine you.
Below is a checklist of what to bring for the appeals hearing. It won't hurt to have these documents available for the first proceeding as well. Worse comes to worse they won't be used. Make sure you are extremely organized so you can find any document within seconds.
Emails showing you did your best, tried to correct the problem or sought help.
Any logs or documentation to show that you did your best, tried to correct the problem or sought help.
A copy of your employer handbook and of any other relevant rules and policies. This could include corporate memos, emails, notices, etc.
All your warnings, evaluations, reviews, awards and other correspondence. Also include any logs or other relevant notes you have taken.
The company chart on who reports to who (if relevant to your case)
Copies of subpoenas, and proof of personal service, if such were sent out to obtain hostile witnesses (i.e. witnesses from the employer). If the witnesses don't show, you may be able to postpone the hearing and compel them to appear (rules in each state differ).
Any logs or documentation to show that you followed the rules or did your best to comply with their policies.
For attendance issues, an attendance log, noting the dates, times and reasons why you were late or absent. Also include notes on who you spoke to and when.
A list of relevant witnesses and what you expect them to testify to. In some states, evidence from your witness will not be allowed unless they personally observed the important event or condition. If they got the information from others, it may be excluded as hearsay.
Further, in states that exclude hearsay, they must testify. A sworn written statement won't do.