I. Before You Accept Employment
A. Negotiate all the terms of your employment.
B. Get the offer in writing.
C. Talk to someone who works at the Company or has worked at the Company to find out about the work environment and your supervisor.
D. Be sure that you understand the representations that are being made to you about the job and that you re-confirm in writing those representations
E. Ask for a written employment agreement.
F. Before you accept the job, ask for all Company documents that you will be required to sign such as proprietary information agreement, employee handbook, arbitration agreement, non-compete, etc.
G. Make sure you understand what your privacy rights are and what the Company has access to or wants you to permit them access to such as emails, social media, background checks, etc.
H. Do not misrepresent anything about yourself including past employment, education, degrees, etc.
I. Do not cancel previous health insurance until you are sure you are covered under your new employer’s policy.
J. The offer letter and/or employment agreement will govern your employment so make sure you understand your rights and obligations. Be careful that you do not agree to restrictions post termination such as a non- compete.
K. Always best to get legal advice.
II. During Employment
A. Pay attention to Company policies.
B. Be careful when using email or accessing social media during employment from Company computers.
C. Review your personnel file at least once a year.
D. Respond in writing to performance reviews, particularly if you disagree with the review.
E. If you travel or incur business expenses, make sure you comply with the company’s expense reimbursement policy and submit your expenses promptly.
F. Be careful what you tell colleagues at work.
G. If the company changes the terms of your employment in any way, make sure you get that in writing.
H. Keep your performance at a high level and improve your skills.
I. Find a mentor who can be your advocate, when necessary.
J. Volunteer to take on tasks.
K. There is no such thing as life time employment. Be ready to leave on your terms at the right time for a better opportunity.
III. On Your Way Out
A. Keep a chronology of events and documents if you think you have a complaint as a result of your termination.
B. Check your emails and delete anything that is personal, although that will not be sufficient to delete from the server.
C. Make copies of all important documents. Do not take any confidential and proprietary or trade secret information with you when you leave.
D. Get a copy of your personnel file and your payroll records.
E. Have an exit interview and if you have complaints voice them before you leave and make sure HR documents them, as you should do as well.
F. Understand your benefits and what happens upon termination.
G. Ask for severance.
H. Get your wages and PTO/vacation benefits paid on your last day.
I. If you are given a separation or severance agreement make sure you review it carefully, ask questions and see an attorney before your sign it. You are signing away your legal rights, so make sure you understand the document.
J. Be careful what you say about your former employer.
K. Get a reference.
L. Apply for unemployment benefits.