Q&A: I've Been (Unfairly) Dismissed by My Company. Now What?

Question:
My company recently terminated my employment without giving due notice. When I tried to seek an explanation from my superiors, they said that this immediate termination was due to my “unsatisfactory performance”. However, I feel that my dismissal is unwarranted as I have been meeting the expectations listed in my job description. What can I do?

Answer:
You’re probably seething with anger and indignation right now, but get your emotions under control as you’ll need a calm mind for what should be done next.

The first thing you can do is examine the terms and conditions of your employment contract to check if any of your employee rights have been violated. Also, try to get the official justification(s) for your termination in black and white (either in writing or via email) from your immediate superior. Any refusal will only strengthen your case if and when you escalate your situation to a higher authority.

Should you have strong reason to believe that you’re being fired for illegal or discriminatory reasons, don’t rush to take legal action against your company as it can be a huge drain on your time and money, precious resources you may wish to conserve considering you are, at least for now, jobless.

Internal Channels
Most companies typically have an internal avenue for redress (usually the Human Resource department) for employees to appeal against any unfair workplace treatment, such as unjustified termination of unemployment.

But before you pursue this option, ensure that you compile all relevant work-related documents, such as any letters of achievement or recommendation, as well as any warning letters and the termination letter itself.

Remember, it can boil down to your word against that of your superior, so it’s crucial that you can produce solid evidence to argue your case. This will help speed up the appeal process and perhaps turn things in your favour.

Lodge an Official Appeal
If internal channels fail you, you can also appeal to the Minister for Manpower in writing to be reinstated to your former position within one month from the date of your dismissal. The Ministry of Manpower will then assess your case and let you know if there are sufficient grounds to proceed with the appeal.

However, do note that such a process can move forward very slowly, and it may cost you much time and trouble even if you are successful (by no means a guaranteed outcome). Hence, you may wish to start searching for another job while waiting for the outcome.

Leave with Dignity
If worse comes to worst and your termination is upheld, do not flip a table in outrage on your last day, regardless of how tempting it may be. Instead, thank your bosses and colleagues for their guidance and depart on cordial terms with your head held high. You never know when these connections may prove useful in the future, so make sure you leave without burning any bridges.

Being unfairly dismissed isn’t the end of the world. On the contrary, it may be a blessing in disguise, giving you the opportunity to discover a better job for yourself.

Have you, or someone you know, ever been unfairly dismissed? Share with us in the comment box below!

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