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Getting fired is hard.  Here’s how to protect your rights in Minnesota – and move on.


If you’ve been fired from a job, that’s a big blow.

The emotional toll of being “displaced” can make it difficult to know what to do first or where to get help. But rest assured, help is available.

First, go online.

Check out the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development’s unemployment website, which provides resources for finding food, housing, and financial support. It has links for applying for unemployment insurance and state services such as job boards and career counselors.

Here are a few more things to do to get you on the road to your next gig.

Lorrie Janatopoulos, director of the state’s CareerForce employment services, recalls her own feeling of being in limbo after her Bush fellowship ended in 2018 and she soon had to find a new job. “It’s daunting at times. So hang in there.”

Read through the papers

To ease the transition, Janatopoulos suggests that you first carefully read any documents your former employer asks you to sign.

“Do it calmly,” she said. “I know losing a job is an extremely difficult situation. If you’re very emotional, you might want to make an appointment to speak to HR the next day to complete the paperwork.”

Pay attention to deadlines. You may have a number of days to sign documents such as a termination agreement before salary or additional benefits offers expire.

However, Sharyn Tejani, associate legal counsel for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), advises displaced workers to remember that they don’t have to sign redundancy agreements on the spot. They may take some time to read it calmly and even consult with an employment lawyer who can help decide if the severance agreement is a good idea. This advice is put forward for older workers, she said.

When reading, pay close attention to the rights you’re asked to give up in exchange for severance pay and retaining certain benefits, she said.

Coverage of unemployment benefits

Apply for unemployment insurance immediately.

“Unemployment insurance benefits can temporarily cover some of your lost wages, so it’s very important to see if you qualify and apply for them as soon as possible,” Janatopoulos said. Go to UIMN.org/applicants/index.jsp.

In Minnesota, unemployment pays about half your weekly salary, up to a maximum of $820 per week. Payments will not begin until after the severance pay you receive from your former employer ends. And note that the state program pays you nothing the first week of the program.

You will have to pay income taxes on unemployment benefits, so consider setting aside a portion of each payment, or have the state automatically withhold taxes using uimn.org or the UIMN’s automated phone system. State.

Maple Grove resident Heather Petri, who worked steadily for 20 years, was surprised to find herself laid off three times in the past nine years. Each time unemployment came with mandatory meetings, coaching and classes that really helped, she said.

But even so, “it was difficult. It was verification for verification,” Petri said.

She is a single mother and had just closed on a townhouse. She now tells others that it’s okay to have a pity party for a few days, but then get to work finding your next job.

Calculate a budget

Navigating through life without a full paycheck can be scary.

First, determine how you can maintain health insurance. Can you join your spouse’s plan? Can you get 18 months of insurance through the COBRA option of your job? Where should you sign up for MNsure? Remember, if you have a Health Savings Account (HSA), you can withdraw those funds for eligible health care expenses even after you leave your job.

When it comes to the basics like rent, mortgage, insurance, food, and student loans, the key is prioritization.

“If you’re going to get in trouble, negotiate with creditors now,” Janatopoulos said. “It’s better to plan ahead than to miss payments without explanation. I know it’s scary, but I also know it’s important to be proactive.”

Audit your expenses. For example, if you paid for parking or ate lunch out, you’ll save money at home. According to American Express, you may be able to cut some streaming services or renegotiate insurance expenses.

“Review and adjust your budget,” says Eva Stukenberg, financial consultant at Thrivent, who loves online budgeting tools to help you through a crisis like job loss. Banks and credit card companies offer them, as does Thrivent, which also offers free online budgeting and financial counseling sessions with a financial planner.

Get help with job search

If your employer has an outplacement firm to support you in your transition, call on them. If you are alone, don’t worry. Petri of Maple Grove and DEED officials note that there is free help through the state.

Contact careerforcemn.com or call 651-259-7500 to connect with one of the state CareerForce employment service specialists. Employment counselors can help you assess your skills and interests to develop a plan and provide resume advice, job interview preparation and job training recommendations.

Even if you have a plan, it would be wise to upload your resume to MinnesotaWorks.net, said Steve Grove, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The site is where thousands of Minnesota employers find candidates.

But it’s not a slam dunk. Petri, who worked at Best Buy for years, found that her strong marketing, social media and communication skills were often overlooked by automated “applicant tracking software systems,” making it difficult to present her CV and cover letter to a real human. .

Your resume and cover letter should include keywords that match the job description.

Even that didn’t help Petri.

Janatopoulos, who oversees 80 CareerForce employment assistance offices across the state, admits submitting a perfect resume is only part of what it takes to land your next job.

Tap all your networks” for emotional support as well as job leads. It’s hard to talk to people about losing a job, but these people can really boost your confidence when you’re feeling down and connect to your next job opportunity,” she said. .

Also reach out to people you know in the field you want to pursue to see if it’s a good fit for you, she said. Also use LinkedIn and other social media for support.

And don’t be ashamed. Talk about your job search with everyone you know at business groups, block, book and veterans clubs, sporting events, PTA meetings, church, synagogues and mosques, and more.

Sometimes it’s really “who you know” that tips the scales in your favor. It’s also a morale booster, Janatopoulos said. It took him about a year to land his favorite job.

After long and demoralizing job searches in the past, Petri turned things around last year after her latest layoff.

Petri found contacts on LinkedIn, joined a church support group, solicited input from HR friends during interviews, spoke to board members of a nonprofit organization nonprofit and sought input from employees already working at his dream workplace, the nonprofit social services company Tubman.

Petri has also reworked her resume, updating the design and including specific data on what she has done for past employers.

Determined to pitch her resume to a human, she asked some Tubman employees if they could pitch her resume to a hiring manager. It worked.

Petri was hired as director of communications and public policy at Tubman.

“I learned that there really is power in your network,” Petri said.

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