3 Tips On What To Do If You’re Fired During Coronavirus
What to do if you’re fired during coronavirus? Well, you are certainly not alone with that question right now. You are far from the only one who is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and who is feeling the fallout not only from the virus but also from the severely-delayed and lacking response of the U.S. government. But fortunately, only because things are going far from smoothly right now does not mean that you are completely out of options.
If you lost your job now because of the COVID-19 pandemic, then the first thing that you should do right now is to take a deep breath and step back. Yes, panicking and despairing is tempting and easy, but they are not what is going to get you and your family out of this mess. And again, you still have some agency, some ways of improving the situation that you are in. As soon as you are ready to make a move again, check out the rest of this article so that you are able to plot a plan once you know what to do if you’re fired during coronavirus.
1. Know your rights. First of all, chances are that the first thing that you can do if you’re fired during coronavirus is to check up on the rights that you have. Now, of course, these are going to depend on the state that you live in, as there are some differences depending on which party is in charge. But in general, one thing that you are most likely protected against are actions of retaliation by your employer, which includes getting fired. On top of getting fired, other retaliatory actions may also be covered, such as you suddenly getting poor performance reviews, being demoted or just getting treated badly in general.
By and large, these protections are in place as soon as the company you work for has 15 or more employees because then the so-called Equal Employment Opportunity laws apply. Because this is important to keep in mind: COVID-19 has changed a lot of things, but U.S. law is still in place just like before the pandemic. So, if any of this resonates with you, you can look into filing an EEOC charge and at least get something out of the whole ordeal. But this is not all you can do if you get fired during coronavirus, because there is also…
2. Check your new status. Because as it turns out, there are several different types of being fired out there. Of course, you may actually just be fired – in which case, see points 1 or 3 of this article. But it could also be that you have been what is called ‘furloughed’ – which basically means that you are on temporary unpaid leave. The difference here is that while you can still apply for unemployment benefits, your healthcare coverage should still continue to roll on and, on top of that, once business returns to normal you can expect to continue working wherever you worked before as normal, too.
Furloughing their employees is what some companies resort to now because they do not want to really fire everyone, but they may also not be able to afford to pay wages right now. In this case, being furloughed may be the best you can hope for from your previous employer. However, no matter if you have been furloughed or full-on fired, other things you can do include…
3. Re-think your setup. Next to being frightening, anxiety-inducing and generally horrible, if you’re fired during coronavirus you can also try to use it as an opportunity as much as possible. Because while yes, much of this really sucks, chances are that you do have a lot of time to think right now.
The government is trying to scramble together aid programs for American citizens right now, many places are also putting a hold on evictions, and several credit card companies are implementing programs to help out people who are struggling right now because they are out of their monthly paid checks. In other words, you should be okay with the present moment. Instead of panicking, use this time to evaluate where you are in life right now.
Consider this: How often do you get a chance like this? Several empty days ahead of you that you can fill planning out whatever you want to do, whatever change you want to make, both right now and after the pandemic ends. Do you want to change careers, acquire new skills, make some personal changes – you name it! While some actions are not accessible right now because of social distancing measures, you still have your brain to work through some stuff right now – all you need to do is use it!
So, these are basically your three options. Consider legal options, double-check your actual employment status and use the time to move into an entirely different direction. Also, seeing how things are right now, you might as well do all three of them and make the most of it.