A family member of mine recently died, and in anticipation of the funeral, I gave advanced notice to my employer that I would not be able to come to work for a day because of the emotional strain, travel time, and schedule imposed by the funeral, and that they were to look for a replacement.

My manager was not pleased with this, and immediately threatened to end my contract if I didn't show up or find a replacement myself, stating that they didn't have the time or resources to search for a replacement themselves, although I don't have any more time or resources than they do, and I definitely wasn't going to be able to find a replacement either, which I of course notified them of. They didn't give me any further solutions. Basically, they gave me a choice between attending the funeral or keeping my job.

Due to an arguably immoral (but probably legal) contract, it indeed seems possible for me to be fired under any circumstances for not showing up or announcing a replacement (I don't know how they account for injury or sickness, but that's how it's written). This all never and still doesn't concern me too much, however, as this is a low-paying part time job, that I wasn't going to abandon a funeral for, especially since this funeral in particular was of great importance to me.

I of course did attend the funeral, and indeed, the next day I was notified that my contract had been terminated, and that I would be fired after the 14 day notice period as laid out in the contract. However, I independently received conflicting information from my employer stating that my manager was still discussing a solution regarding my employment and contract.

After asking for clarification, I was told that I had indeed been fired and that my contract had been terminated, but that I would be able to keep working for the company without any further complications if I didn't escalate breaching contract by skipping the notice day period (which I wasn't planning to do anyway).

I am left very confused by this. So far as I can tell, once a contract termination has been notified, once I have been properly "fired", then the contract will have been terminated and will have to be resigned/renegotiated. Even disregarding the content of the contract, there's no real question that I have been fired and that the contract has been terminated, it was threatened with beforehand and confirmed afterwards. And I've never heard of a contract termination being "canceled", or a person being "unfired", so I don't really understand what kind of situation I am in right now.

What I feel like happened is my manager threatened the termination of my contract in an unnecessary act of rage or desperation, followed up on that threat, then backed off at the prospect of having to find a replacement. Either that or I just have plain and simply been lied to with regards to my termination (which doesn't seem legal?).

Unfortunately, either of these options seems reasonable to me, since the management of my employer hasn't generally been the best (having to provide my credentials multiple times due to bad administration, receiving my pay late multiple times, being scheduled for work-hours conflicting with earlier promises, etc.). I feel like a lot of pressure and responsibility is put on our management, it might even be the case that my manager is personally responsible for replacing me considering what I have heard earlier and especially considering their hostile reactions, but of course, that's no excuse for what happened here.

Whatever the case may be though, I am not sure how to proceed now, especially when it comes to agreeing to the canceling of the termination.

I wouldn't mind staying for at least a couple more weeks, however, I also don't really care about this job, since the pay is low, the work has grown to be below my skill level, and especially because of its current management. Using a fake contract termination as a leverage tool doesn't seem moral, fair or even legal to me, and neither does the prospect of possibly working illegally without a contract. I don't really know how to proceed with discussing this with my manager now.

  • Was the termination ever expressed in writing? If not, does your contract ask for a written notice?
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 4:08
  • Does the contract say that they have to give you a 14 day notice when firing you?
    – Joe W
    Commented Nov 11, 2019 at 2:25

5 Answers 5


This seems like a fairly unethical employer which I wouldn't trust. You may have a little bit of leverage: they want you to serve the notice period so they have more time finding a replacement.

I would tread carefully here: they may try to withhold payment or fire you as soon as they have a convenient replacement lined up.

I would ask for an written contract that exactly lays out the conditions for your future employment and/or the rest of your notice period. If they don't agree or you don't like the terms of the contract, I'd walk away. Chances are nothing good will come from staying and working there


Question: Do you want to stay, or do you want to leave? If you want to leave, then they have given you notice, and that can’t be undone unless you agree. Same if you give notice because you are angry about something; once you give notice your job is gone unless the company agrees. So if you don’t want to stay, you tell them that you accepted the notice and that’s it.

If you don’t want to leave: Between the company and you, you can agree on anything. If the company says “let’s forget about the firing” and you agree, then your contract continues. You’d want something in writing that you have done nothing that the company will hold against you. BTW. If your manager has the right to fire you, and says “you’re fired”, then it is not possible to lie about it, you are indeed fired.

But it seems they need you. That means you have the upper hand. So first as I said you get in writing that your contract continues. And then you can decide for yourself how much they need you and what you can get away with. If you think they really need you then You can say that your pay is really low and you would be much more interested in forgetting about the firing if the pay was higher. The result may be that you won’t be staying there for long, but you only want to stay a few months anyway. Of course you better be right about how much they need you.


Using a fake contract termination as a leverage tool doesn't seem moral, fair or even legal to me,

It is not a fake contract termination.

I don't know the precise terms of the contract, but it seems to me that the proper steps to terminate it have been taken: it has been communicated to you and the proper notice period has been used to calculate your last day.

What comes after depends on what you want, if you really want to keep the job or if you are ready to look for something else. The management doesn't seem good, so I would consider looking for a new job as an opportunity to find a better place.

But, if you are considering staying, use your leverage to get better conditions. I don't see anything immoral in asking to receive what you are worth to them. Obviously, the more you are ready to look somewhere else, the more leverage you have.


I would read it like this: Your manager overstepped his bounds, and HR tries to back-pedal, but right now has not (yet?) gotten the formal OK from somebody up the chain to cancel this.

Anyway, the communication surrounding the issue is completely ridiculous to say the least. Look for a new job, if the general job situation in the region is good; work during the notice period, ask a lawyer what the legal status after the notice period is is case you continue to work. See what happens in respect to your manager.


Get it in written that your termination was cancelled

You have received a formal termination letter, therefore if you keep working after the notice period, you don't have any proof that your contract is still valid.

Get a written confirmation that the termination was cancelled. Try to get it from the manager who signed the termination, so that there is later no way to question it.

If they don't want to provide written proof, let then know your contract officially ends after the notice period and you won't be able to take further shifts.

  • 1
    @JoeStrazzere Good catch. It says "there's no real question that I have been fired and that the contract has been terminated, it was threatened with beforehand and confirmed afterwards". My brain translated it to "termination letter". So if there is no writing, is there even a problem?
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 4:05
  • @JoeStrazzere if it was said, that is a verbal contract as just as valid as one on paper, written in blood etc. Some contracts have nothing spoken or written - it is possible to complete a contract without a word - buying a newspaper for example, pick up paper, offer money, take change and leave....
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 5:25
  • 3
    @ SolarMike While verbal contracts are legally the same as written ones, they are much more difficult to prove. That's why written contracts much more popular.
    – Chris
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 5:31
  • @Chris I think the number of contracts that are verbal or without words far exceed the number of written contracts...
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Nov 10, 2019 at 7:03

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