How to go about getting fired?
August 14, 2012 3:10 AM   Subscribe

Recently got fired, how do I go about with the situation?

So I was recently fired just yesterday from my job (in NYC) because of falsification of records (I filled out a time error sheet stating I arrived within my grace period although the camera time said otherwise of my arrival). Of course, being the idiot I am, I signed the termination paper without fully reading what I am agreeing to because I was kind of in the state of shock.

I am not entirely sure how to go about with the situation because I feel there are few ways for me to get my job back or I can try to apply for unemployment.

I wrote up an e-mail to my management admitting (not sent yet) to my wrongful action and asked to please take in consideration on how I was mistreated and felt unappreciated throughout my five years in the job; additionally, the treatment from work affected my clinical depression, thus impairing my decisions such as falsifying the time I arrived at work in order to keep my job. Conclusively asking for a second chance. I have therapy session accounts from my psychologist and proof of medical condition from my psychiatrist to back it up. However, I strongly worry if I do not get a second chance, the e-mail is set to backfire on me if I applied for unemployment, let alone already signing the termination paper to worsen the situation.

Another way is for me to pursue unemployment, despite signing the termination paper, by saying I was under the impression I arrived within my grace period since I did not check the time (I stated I arrived at work 10 minutes before the actual time I arrived according to the camera time). So it may be understandable for me to presume I arrived at the time I stated and that I simply signed the paper because I agreed I did falsify on records, however, not intentionally (Pretty sure the paper did not ask if I agree that my actions were intentionally).

Or, I can pursue for employment, admit my wrongful action but claim it resulted from my depression and anxiety impairing my decisions. I've actually been worrying constantly of getting fired and has gotten me paranoid of my employment status.

Lastly, I wonder if I have a case to sue the company for contributing to my depression. The job has honestly affected my depression, but I have no evidences to prove or documents proving how the job mistreating me, aside from therapy session accounts.

So how should I go about with this situation? Suggestions? I would like to keep my job, but if not possible, I would like to collect unemployment or some money to keep myself financially secure until I get another job.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am not an attorney, but I am an employer (and I've dealt with terminations and unemployment to some extent).

I doubt that you have grounds to "sue" your employer for causing your depression, I'm fairly certain an attorney would tell you that, but you could certainly have that conversation.

I also doubt that any statements you make will mitigate the fact that you violated company policy and were, as a result, terminated for cause, which (in my state, at least) disqualifies you for unemployment.

My advice, start looking for another job ASAP.
posted by HuronBob at 3:33 AM on August 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I think telling them they've mistreated and unappreciated you for five years is not really going to convince them to give you your job back.

Whatever you do, you need to get your story straight. On the one hand you say that their mistreatment worsened your depression which affected your judgement which caused you to falsify records (implies you knowingly and intentionally falsified the records ) and on the other hand you say you simply didn't check the time and assumed you arrived at the time you did... neither of those are good excuses - either your mental illness has robbed you of your judgement or you're careless/irresponsible and were not only late but didn't bother to check the time so that you could correctly fill in your timesheet. I don't know which is closer to the truth but I would have gone with "I must have made an error when writing the time because I was thinking that I was late and should have arrived by time" - in this scenario you didn't knowingly falsify the records and you did know what the correct time was, you simply transcribed it incorrectly - a fairly common human mistake, although I suspect whatever your story, it wouldn't have made a difference.

At the end of the day I think you have pretty much zero chance of getting your job back (tbh, not sure why you'd want it back). You say you've been paranoid about getting fired for a while now, I think there was probably some truth in that. I suspect they've wanted to fire you for some time and the timesheet error was the excuse they needed. It seems hard to believe that they would fire an otherwise good employee for a single timesheet error.
posted by missmagenta at 3:39 AM on August 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

So you're going to beg for your job back and if that doesn't work, sue them?

I don't see either of those things working for you. I think you need to let go of this job and put it behind you for your own well being. If this place is as miserable as you make it out to be, I wouldn't give them another second of your time or your thoughts. Your main focus right now should be finding another job and getting yourself well. File for unemployment and get on with your life.
posted by futureisunwritten at 4:04 AM on August 14, 2012

Best answer: You're not going to get your job back. Come to terms with that, and figure out a plan of action from there.

If unemployment is out, too, based on termination for cause, then you need to start an active job search ASAP.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:53 AM on August 14, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Just move on. You're not going to get a job back after an employer fires you. That's not how the world works. And, even if you were given your job back, you'd have the prospect of having to deal with the same people who fired you every day.
posted by dfriedman at 5:36 AM on August 14, 2012 [10 favorites]

I strongly worry if I do not get a second chance,

You're not going to get your job back with that; there is no chance of that. That is not how a modern business works. "Time theft" as the corporate world calls it, is a one of those bright red lines. Talk to a lawyer if you want to pursue it, but this is a situation where they will fight your unemployment claim, and they will win.
posted by spaltavian at 5:47 AM on August 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

I don't know your employer's rules, but it's likely they have a clear policy on this sort of thing. Falsifying timesheets is often grounds for termination no matter what, and if the company has (and looks at!) video records of their employees' arrival times, I have serious doubts that they're going to be persuaded by anything a non-lawyer human says. And if they were the type to give you a second chance, they would have done so before they fired you.

File for unemployment, even if you might not get it. And start applying to other places. Five years of reliable work will weigh strongly in your favor. And start thinking of a diplomatic response to why you left your last job. You don't have to say you were fired - I've heard lots of advice saying not to mention being fired in interviews but can't say for sure whether that's the route you want to go. If you do talk about the firing, put it in the simplest, most diplomatic terms: "I made an error on my timesheet, and the company has a zero tolerance policy (or whatever). It was the only time I'd done so in my five years there, and this has taught me the importance of paying attention to detail even when you're an expert at your job" etc. etc. (Someone else probably has better advice on how to handle this, but regardless, this is what you should be thinking about, not getting your old job back.)

It hurts to get fired, but it won't ruin you. And you said yourself you were unhappy there. They are not the only company who will have you. There are better work environments and you can and will find one.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:17 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Everyone's been fired at one time or another. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get to work getting work.

Don't sent the email. Do apply for unemployment, there's a small chance they may not challenge the claim. It's worth it to try. Also, there are resources there for finding new jobs.

Love Metroid Baby's script for addressing the issue in future interviews.

In the future, don't sign anything from an employer as you're being fired. If you feel like they want to fire you, look for a new job before it gets to that point. If you're unhappy and feel like your employer is taking advantage of you, find a new job before the situation devolves.

This is 100% your responsibility. If your depression worsens, it's up to you to work with your doctor to address it. If your employer is an asshole, it's up to you to find a new job. If you're falsifying a timesheet, you know what you're doing and if you're caught, you have to accept the consquences.

You'll survive this, but if you continue to see yourself as a victim here, instead of accepting the consequence of your bad decision, you'll spend the rest of your life believing that the world is out to get you.

Learn from this and move on.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:49 AM on August 14, 2012 [8 favorites]

Best answer: I made an error on my timesheet

Don't say this in the interview, by the way. Integrity concerns are an automatic no hire.

Most companies will not say why you were let go, only if you are eligible for rehire or not. However, that is not a law in most (any?) jurisdictions. Have a friend call your previous place of employment as a reference to see what information they divulge. You may have to leave this job off your resume if it's too damning.

Again, most corporations will look at what you did as theft. There's no way to spin it.
posted by spaltavian at 7:12 AM on August 14, 2012

"...I was mistreated and felt unappreciated throughout my five years in the job..."
...wonder if I have a case to sue the company for contributing to my depression. The job has honestly affected my depression, but I have no evidences to prove or documents proving how the job mistreating me, aside from therapy session accounts.
Of all the options you list, going back to this job seems like the least desirable. Move on -- there's something better out there.
posted by BurntHombre at 7:42 AM on August 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

As far as they are concerned, you are history. Forget about this job, learn your valuable lessons and move on. No job is indispensable and sooner or later you will find something else. Make this a challenge to get a better job. DO NOT give anything in writing.
posted by pakora1 at 9:52 AM on August 14, 2012

Obviously you're going to have to find another job/income stream. Meanwhile I would suggest another angle as well. Get into something more rewarding on the side. September is coming. Sign up for a class or a volunteer opportunity. It will get you out of the house, lift your spirits and give you something to say for yourself if the job search takes a couple of months.
posted by BibiRose at 12:42 PM on August 14, 2012

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