Quit vs fired?
February 19, 2010 6:45 AM   Subscribe

Should my friend quit before they are fired?

Someone I know has been suspended from their job. This person is in their 20s in a food service-type job. They will be fired but so far are only suspended. The reason for the suspension is legitimate but also is a common workplace practice at this particular job. Many of the employees have been suspended or will be soon. What they did was not right but also doesn't seem worthy of this action. It is on a level that would likely (in most other workplaces) end up with a meeting where the behavior would be identified and employees would be told to stop. This did not occur.

Here's the questions:
1) They have the opportunity to quit rather than be fired. Would that be a good thing to do? It doesn't appear that they will be eligible for unemployment in either situation (they're in BC, Canada). But would future employers look more kindly on a work history that shows they quit?
2) How should this be handled in future job interviews? Do you have good examples of how this can be presented? Or should it be? It seems to me that saying it was the workplace culture may imply that the person was too susceptible to peer pressure and not willing to do the right thing despite the pressure. They're not a bad person although they realize they should have acted differently. Do they own up or try to keep it quiet? Should this employer even be listed on a resume?

Any other HR advice you can provide would be appreciated. Thanks!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There are no benefits to be derived from being fired. You would be ineligible for employment insurance. You might have to explain why you were fired to a future employer. Quitting is almost the same as getting fired (no employment insurance) but at least you'll be able to say that you left the job to pursue better opportunities. I think if the company is giving you the opportunity to quit and the only other option is to get fired, you should quit. (*For "you" in the previous response, substitute "your friend").
posted by wabbittwax at 6:58 AM on February 19, 2010

On the other hand, if the workplace culture is such that everybody does this bad thing, but management has previously turned a blind eye, then management may have a problem. They've given tacit permission in the past and they probably are not in a position to summarily dismiss everybody who has done it so they need something more to do it properly. In this case, this is a situation where you really need to look at two documents, 1) the employment contract (if there is one) and 2) the employment standards for BC wrt what constitutes grounds for firing and what rights the employer and employee each have.

If you suspect that the employer may be trying to pull a fast one, have your friend write down in complete detail everything that has happened between them and management up to this point, and then call an employment standards agent, run it by them in broad strokes and they'll probably give you an idea of what the right course of action may be.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:08 AM on February 19, 2010

Were they arrested and convicted for whatever the offense was? If not, then no, it shouldn't be mentioned in future job interviews. Tell the interviewer that the job was a bad fit, your friend wanted to explore new opportunities, whatever, but he/she does not need to tell anyone what exactly happened. Don't blame workplace culture or say anything bad about the employer. If your friend has other job experience and wasn't at this job very long, then I wouldn't list it on a resume at all.
posted by desjardins at 7:10 AM on February 19, 2010

It depends if they are going to be actually fired (terminated with cause), or just terminated. Employers in Canada often just give people two-weeks notice to get them out of their hair and to avoid any legal hassles. And if your friend isn't terminated with cause, they are eligible for EI benefits.
posted by cardboard at 7:16 AM on February 19, 2010

And if your friend isn't terminated with cause, they are eligible for EI benefits.

IANAL, and I am not even Canadian, but if this is true, then your friend's employer might be trying to shame him/her into quitting to avoid having to pay their part of EI benefits. Something to think about.

Also, being fired carries a lot of stigma, and is sort of a scary thing to have happen, but in this case, the impact might not be that different from quitting. Future employers don't need to know s/he was fired.
posted by lunasol at 8:11 AM on February 19, 2010

Your friend should quit and walk away. There is no reason to mention any of this in future job interviews.

They could stick around and poke it out with management, but to what end? Better to get on with getting a new job than hoping that unemployment benefits will start after a month and a lawsuit.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 9:36 AM on February 19, 2010

Either way, they won't get unemployment. They're also not going to get a good recommendation either way. Most employers won't say why someone left, just the term of employement and whether they are eligible for rehire or not, In either case, the answer will likely be "no". Your friend shouldn't mention this job in future interviews either way. So, I really doubt it matters.
posted by spaltavian at 1:24 PM on February 19, 2010

Does Canada have that "got fired or quit to avoid being fired" clause in their unemployment? Because if they do, I think it's regarded as being fired anyway even if you quit.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:16 PM on February 19, 2010

If they quit because of constuctive dismissal, they should be able to still get EI. Check out the ruling info.
posted by acoutu at 8:29 PM on February 19, 2010

If it's fast food or chain restaurant work, and your friend is currently suspended, there is no way they will be paid EI. Their HR departments consist of people who are paid to tell managers how to keep costs down by squeezing every drop out of the money udder.

In order to qualify, an employee must work a certain number of hours a week for a certain length of time before the end of their employment, as determined by the EI economic region mapping and the unemployment rate in that area.

If they want to lay any bets about the length of their suspension, I will wager that it will be exactly as long (and no longer) than that qualifying period, because there is nothing more ruthless or efficient as a big HR department in charge of the replaceable.
posted by Sallyfur at 8:58 PM on February 19, 2010

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