anything else you think might be useful to a lawyer or to unemployment
2. Don't sign anything.
You aren't thinking straight. When they shove a severance agreement, disciplinary report or other paperwork in front of you, take a deep breath, and ask for a copy to review. Take a look at it once you've had a chance to calm down.
If there's anything you don't understand, take it to a lawyer to have it reviewed before you sign. You may be giving up rights you shouldn't, or maybe you have some leverage to negotiate for more money.
You especially don't want to accidentally sign a noncompete agreement that limits your ability to work for a year or two, unless you understand it and are getting some substantial dollars for it.
3. Don't yell, curse or make a scene.
You don't want to burn bridges. You still need these people, as much as you hate them right now. They will be on your resume for many years. They'll have to give references on you.
Plus, if you tick them off they're more likely to challenge your unemployment. They can make your life even more miserable right now, believe it or not. I've known many employees who were fired or laid off and who ended up getting rehired down the road.
4. If you believe they got it wrong, don't argue or beg.
If they got the wrong person or there's something you can prove is incorrect, you can tell them calmly. However, very few employers will change their minds at this point.
If your proof is at home or is something you need to provide in writing, then wait until you've cooled off, put together your information in a business-like fashion, and send it later.
They may have an appeals or grievance process. Follow it.
5. Don't admit to a crime or wrongdoing.
Sometimes, the employer will lock you in a room with Loss Prevention and say you can't leave unless you sign something admitting that you stole inventory or did something wrong. Don't do it. You're already going to be fired -- don't let them fool you. "Just sign and you'll still have your job," they might say. They're lying. The only question is whether you'll also end up in jail or with a big judgment against you.
If they say you can't leave, open the door and go anyhow. If they block the way, pull out your cell phone or pick up the phone in the room and call 911. If you don't have a phone and they block your way, demand to be allowed out. If they still won't let you go, scream at the top of your lungs for help. That's the one time I recommend making a scene. (Don't touch anyone though). Eventually you will be allowed out of the room. Call 911 the second you leave the premises and tell the police what happened. Then call an employment attorney (or criminal defense attorney if you need one) and get advice.
But whatever you do, don't sign something admitting to a crime. Ever.
I hope this helps.
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