Involuntary Termination of Employment: What Does It Mean?

Involuntary termination refers to dismissal from employment due to the actions or decisions of the employer and not the employee. It is not initiated by the actions of the employee and they were still willing and able to work.

Involuntary Termination: Module 4 of 5

What classifies as involuntarily termination?

Here are some types of involuntary termination:

Getting fired without notice

If an employee’s work does not meet the employer’s standards or their behavior is inappropriate for the business, they may be let go immediately. In some locations, firing an employee without cause if they are found to be performing below-par work is legal.


This might occur if the business decides to reduce expenses, reorganize, or if an employee’s skill set becomes obsolete. The key distinction between layoffs and firings is that the former occur to employees through no fault of their own, while the latter occur when the employee is directly at fault. Unless there is a collective bargaining advantage, there is typically no guarantee of being rehired even when the company starts hiring again.

Illegal dismissals

Employment-at-will agreements permit employers to dismiss workers without cause, but not in certain circumstances, such as when they are absent from work, don’t put in the required number of hours, or complain. An illegal dismissal has occurred if an employee was fired for exercising their rights, and they may file a lawsuit as a result. Additionally, it is unlawful to fire someone if the procedure for doing so was not followed by the company. a firing motivated by prejudice of any kind, including prejudice based on gender, race, religion, etc. , also classifies as an illegal dismissal.


Retrenchment is very similar to layoffs with minor differences. Employees who are laid off receive notice beforehand and are informed of their termination period. When an employer wants to restructure the workforce for economic or technological reasons, it takes place.

Forced resignation

To maintain face or to maintain the possibility of employment elsewhere, this is done. A company may take measures to make the workplace less appealing to an employee if it wants to avoid firing them. To induce the employee to resign, they might alter the shift hours, say there will be no further salary increases, or refrain from offering any more promotions.


If an employee stayed past the retirement age and was aware of it, the employer may have the right to force him or her to leave.

What is involuntary termination?

When an employee is fired from their job without their consent, it is known as an involuntary termination. They weren’t the ones who started it, and they were still willing and able to work It might be as a result of the employer experiencing financial difficulties or because of events beyond their control.

What to do when you are involuntarily terminated

There are a few things you can do if your employment was terminated without your consent:

Severance package

You might be eligible for a severance package if you were fired because of an involuntary termination. It may include various items such as:

One thing to bear in mind is that some states may not require severance pay. It typically involves two parties coming to an agreement when it is not necessary. Make sure you are aware of your location-based eligibility for severance pay.

Outplacement services

Outplacement services help you find a new job. Services may include job coaches, online facilities or continuing education. They are career transition services that can assist you in finding employment.

Outplacement services offer advice and help you market yourself. They will also assist you in developing a solid portfolio and resume. Some will make sure you have a dedicated job coach and align you with job boards. They assist you in adjusting to your unique requirements and long-term objectives. Keep in mind that an outplacement service cannot complete your work for you. Rather, think of it as a personalized career counselor.

Unemployment benefits

Your state may determine whether you are eligible to receive unemployment benefits. In some cases, it will also be based on the reasons why you were fired.

Health care benefits

In some circumstances, you might be qualified to keep receiving health benefits after being fired for a specific amount of time. This again is determined by the state in which you reside and your employer.

How to find a job after being involuntarily terminated

After being fired, try these things to see if they can help you find work:

Build your resume

Explaining the situation to prospective employers after being let go, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, is the hardest part for those who have gone through this. It is not a good idea to lie about your termination on your resume in the age of technological advancement when a background check can be completed with a few keystrokes.

The best course of action is to ensure that you document your termination and provide a brief justification. Avoid going into too much detail, but always make sure to note the crucial details. In this manner, you can give the employer the necessary information accurately and provide a sufficient justification.


Utilize your free time to network and present yourself favorably to potential employers. Your former coworkers can be your greatest allies and can advocate for you by making recommendations. Make time to advance your career, participate in volunteer work, or work as an intern at a company.

If you know how to use social media effectively, it can be a great tool. Seek out like-minded people on your social media accounts. Make an effort to comment on their works and interact with readers. Always provide value in your conversations.

Don’t forget to thank the person you connected with when you follow up and do so. A sincere relationship is at the core of networking. Let people know you value their insight.

Be aware of how much time passes

Make sure you utilize your newly acquired free time to experiment with various methods of strengthening your resume. Although taking a break might seem very appealing, it is best to continue playing and avoid letting a significant gap show in your portfolio. Use this opportunity to promote yourself and stay current. Use social media to stay in the loop. Make contact with business leaders and be sure to keep up with technological advancements Utilize this time to pick up knowledge and skills that you might need in the future.

Make sure to never stop learning. Online classes and personal coaching are available. Even if they do not align with your current job description, make use of the time to develop a wide variety of skills.

Set aside time for self-reflection

Make sure you schedule time during the day to reflect on your life and reevaluate your priorities. By doing this, you can prevent burnout and make yourself better prepared to handle future setbacks.

Following a termination, it is especially beneficial to follow a set routine. Ensure that you have something to look forward to each day and invest your time in developing your skill sets. Spending this time to honestly assess yourself and determine whether you want to change careers can also be a helpful way to determine what you really want.

Choose your words wisely

Being amiable and remembering your manners is important. Even if you were fired, never criticize your previous employer. In some circumstances, if you can resolve your differences, your former employer could be a huge asset.


What does it mean to be involuntary terminated?

Consider including the following in your termination meeting:
  1. Give an adequate reason for the discharge. …
  2. Seek out the employee’s explanation or interpretation of events. …
  3. Make it clear that the decision is final. …
  4. Briefly run through the benefits. …
  5. Explain your job reference policy. …
  6. Collect what’s yours from the employee.

Is involuntary termination the same as being fired?

For the purposes of Section 409A, an “involuntary termination” is a severance of the employment relationship brought on by the employer’s independent use of the unilateral authority in cases where the employee was ready and willing to continue providing services.

What is an example of involuntary termination?

Termination may be voluntary, as in the case of an employee quitting on their own volition. An employee is terminated involuntarily when a business reduces staff, makes layoffs, or fires them. Severance packages are optional, so a business is not required to provide them to workers when their employment is terminated.

What are the four types of termination?

When an employee is fired due to a business decision that is out of their control, this is known as an “involuntary termination.” The company might, for instance, be going through financial difficulties when they decide to hold a layoff event.

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