Table of contents
1. Be mindful, rash actions may weaken your position.
As surprising and frustrating as the termination may be, actions that you might take during the stress of being fired can be rash and weaken your position to find a great new job and negotiate good terms of your departure.
Don't burn bridges. Insults or unfriendly replies to emails or anger towards colleagues may bring relief in the short term, but try to keep your negative emotions to yourself, friends and family.
Continue going to work. If you haven’t been released from work, go to work as usual and complete any steps your employer asks you to take before leaving.
Be careful with termination agreements. If your employer offers you a termination agreement, don’t sign it for the time being. As lucrative as it may sound at first, most often you are off much worse. Not only do you usually settle for relatively low severance amounts, a long blocking period can be imposed for the payment of your unemployment benefit. So take the time to have the termination agreement checked.
2. Register with the Federal Employment Agency and claim unemployment benefits.
If you don’t meet the deadlines of the employment office, you may not receive unemployment benefits in time or a blocking period of one week may be imposed on you.
3. Claim severance pay and check your termination.
Although there is generally no legal right to severance pay, some employees are entitled to it. However, even employees without entitlement can claim severance pay. This is why you should check your termination.
Are you entitled to severance pay?
To find out if you are entitled to severance pay
- check your employment contract,
- check your letter of termination (in case of a operations-related dismissal),
- ask your works council for a severance scheme, and
- ask your trade union or relevant employers’ association for a collective agreement.
Why should you check your termination?
Employers mustn’t dismiss employees arbitrarily in Germany. However, they often use their information and power advantage to terminate employees unlawfully and avoid severance payments. If you contest your termination, you can usually either claim re-employment or your employer will let himself in on paying severance pay to avoid costly legal consequences.
Contest your termination in time. If you want to successfully negotiate severance pay or claim re-employment, you should file within 3 weeks after your termination a dismissal protection suit or indicate that you intend to do so. If you fail to challenge the termination in time, your termination is effective in any case. As a consequence your employer will no longer be willing to re-employ you or pay severance pay. This is because employers are usually only willing to negotiate if they have to fear costly legal consequences.
Improve your chances. Knowing your own negotiating position and the right steps to make is crucial for successfully receiving severance pay or claiming re-employment. With a well-founded dismissal protection suit, the right arguments and knowledge of employers’ tactics, you can make your negotiations successful and increase your severance amounts. It is therefore worthwhile to rely on the experience of experts.
4. Request a reference and time off work for your job search.
When looking for a job, sooner or later you will need a job reference and have to attend various appointments. You should therefore request a reference and take time off work in good time.