22

This question basically builds up on this question

My employer wants me to write down "I confirm having received the termination and I accept it" on my termination paper.

As I'm not happy at all with the termination and this basically throws me into unemployment I'm struggeling to write that.

Also (in my common sense) no acceptance from any party is needed if you fire someone/decide to leave. As long you follow your local laws.

Should I change the sentence to something like: "I confirm having received the termination and I deeply regret that this step was needed"?

The other sentence just sounds...fishy to me. I don't want to insinuate malicious intentions but it kinda feels like a phrase for them to avoid all consequences.

  • 19
    I think given your specific case you should actually get a lawyer. The job was advertised as something it wasn't and it really has inconvenienced you badly. My advice: Don't sign anything. Get a lawyer. – DCON Jul 4 '17 at 12:35
  • 21
    This is definitely fishy. The only reason you could possibly want to do this is, if as an employer you AREN'T allowed to terminate this person, and you need to be able to prove to the court that this was a mutual decision. I third the suggestion to ask this question to a local employment lawyer. – Erik Jul 4 '17 at 12:38
  • 29
    Why sign anything? What's the worst that can happen? Will they fire you twice as hard? In other words, no, don't sign anything. You have no reason to and I see no way for this to somehow help you in any way - but many ways in which this can be harmful for you. – Florian Schaetz Jul 4 '17 at 12:58
  • 35
    SIGN NOTHING. Also, WRITE NOTHING. – Fattie Jul 4 '17 at 14:28
  • 12
    They probably want you to say "you accept it" as a means of combating any potential law suits concerning wrongful termination (which strongly suggests to me that there is cause for a law suit concerning wrongful termination.) Writing "I deeply regret that this was necessary" is almost as bad - if not worse - because it admits guilt about your part in the termination. I second what others have said - SIGN NOTHING, WRITE NOTHING. TALK TO A LAWYER – Steve-O Jul 4 '17 at 21:31
40

I am not a lawyer. I would recommend you to get one to make sure you don't make any legal concessions you don't have to make.

But if I would be in a situation where hiring a lawyer is not possible, I would only write the undeniable truth, and nothing more:

I confirm having received this document

and sign it with the current date. This proves that they have given me the termination in a timely manner. Whether or not I accept the termination is my decision. They can not tell me to state that. Also note that I am not calling it a "termination" but only a "document". That might give my lawyer some options to attack it based on formalities they might not have if I would have acknowledge it as a termination.

Maybe it would be in fact beneficial for me to formally accept it, maybe it would be better to formally reject it. But that's something I would have difficulty to assess without legal advice. So I would avoid making any statement in either direction until my lawyer tells me to.

13

Of course it's fishy.

You may have legal rights against unfair dismissal. You may have contractual rights of appeal under the terms of your contract or the company's documented dismissal policy.

By accepting the termination, you may weaken any claim for unfair dismissal. As others have said, take the paper, acknowledge that you have received it, and leave your options open as to whether or not you should take action against the company.

11

I just noticed this: "I deeply regret that this step was needed". Do not write this. Remember: Anything you say or write can and will be used against you. You just admitted that not only your company was right to fire you, but that your bad behaviour made it necessary to fire you. At least that's what any lawyer will say.

Why would you write this? To be nice? They just fired you. I'd say something rude, instead I'll say don't be nice to them.

Even "I have received the termination" is not something you should write. It's always possible that what they gave you is not legally a termination. Why make it harder for you if lawyers got involved by admitting that you received a termination? "I have received this document" is it. Nothing more. Remember: Anything you say and write can and will be used against you. Remember: You have just been fired. You don't like these people. Don't be nice to them. You do whatever you can, as little as it may be, to make their life harder.

  • You don't like these people. Don't be nice to them. You do whatever you can, as little as it may be, to make their life harder. - I dont think that making your former employer into an enemy is the appropriate tactic in any situation. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 17 '17 at 14:56
  • It is when the former employer tries to make you sign your rights away, and there's the danger that you might do it because you are a nice person. – gnasher729 Jul 17 '17 at 21:02
  • You know there are options besides launching the nukes right?\ – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 17 '17 at 21:40
  • @IDrinkandIKnowThings: The context, from OP's earlier question, is important. This isn't a former employer, there is no history, there is no relationship. They offered him a job, complete with signed offer letter, that didn't exist, allegedly due to outsourcing. – Ben Voigt Jul 18 '17 at 2:23
  • @BenVoigt - Two wrongs do not make a right. There are options besides treating them like your mortal enemy. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 18 '17 at 14:37
7

When you are being terminated, there is absolutely no reason to sign anything unless there's an incentive. If they're saying "Here, we'll pay you an extra month of severance if you sign this," and I've been there before, then you need to balance the sure thing of a month of money vs the ambiguous relief of trying to address wrongful termination. But if they're offering nothing - just say "nope."

I've been asked to sign things going out the door. "Sign this to say you've never violated our IP agreement." "Sign here to re-verify you're not going to take customers with you." "Sign here to accept your termination." Unless there is some actual benefit to you signing it, just say "no thanks" and leave. I've refused to sign things like this even when I'm leaving of my own accord. They are not allowed (in 90% of the civilized world) to withhold your last paycheck, so there's really no down side. You don't need to pay a lawyer to not sign anything. Remember, people do quit by just not showing up any more, they don't "need" any of this stuff. They want it. Why do you want it? If there's not a reason, then don't do it.

3

The question to ask anytime you are told to do something you think is not in your best interests is:

So, if were to refuse to comply with your request what would the consequences be? Are you willing to document those consequences in writing?

You do not always need a lawyer. If you do not like the answers then you can reply:

I am not unwilling to sign this however I feel that I need to consult a lawyer before doing so.

And if the company continues to insist that you sign it before you can leave to consult the attorney, then write on the document before signing anything:

I am being told that I can not leave this room, despite requesting and opportunity to discuss this with a lawyer, until I complete the following statement:

Then write the statement and when you sign:

This is signed only under-duress of and/or coercion of continued involuntary detainment

Then sign your name.

Chances are the company is going to walk way before it gets to here. But if it does then anything you sign in this manner should be worthless should it come to court.

  • 1
    Anything you sign in that manner would probably not be worthless in court, it'd be pretty strong evidence against the company. – Erik Jul 10 '17 at 19:36
  • 2
    @Erik - not unless the company is stupid enough to try to use the document in court. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 10 '17 at 20:15
  • @KeithThompson - It is a standard tactic to claim that someone must sign before they leave. So my answer goes beyond the original question of what to do when first asked but what to do should they use that tactic. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 18 '17 at 14:31
  • Even under those circumstances, I wouldn't write anything more than an acknowledgement that I've received the document -- and then I'd walk out. – Keith Thompson Jul 18 '17 at 15:50
  • @KeithThompson - That acknowldedgement can be used against you more effectively than what I proposed. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jul 18 '17 at 15:56

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