Nov 27

How Do I Explain My Wrongful Termination in a Job Interview?, Toronto Employment Lawyer


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When commencing a wrongful dismissal lawsuit, an employee has a duty to mitigate their damages; meaning they are required to attempt to decrease their loses by going out and finding a new comparable position. That said, many people find it difficult to find a new job if they have recently been let go and particularity, have difficulty attempting to explain their termination to a potential new employer during the interview process.

The first step one must ask themselves is, have I been terminated without cause or with cause? A termination without cause means that you have not ‘done something bad’ to warrant your termination. Some examples include a restructuring, because your position does not exist anymore, or the company was sold. If this is the case, there is no reason why you cannot be honest and open about what happened to you. On the other hand, if you have been terminated for cause it may be difficult for you to explain your termination at a job interview, but is important to be honest, brief, and not overly emotional about what happened to you.

Some common examples of termination for cause are chronic lateness, absenteeism, insubordination, dishonesty, and/or theft, but this specific blog post will focus on how you can approach an interview after being terminated for alleged poor performance.

Tip #1: Be honest

Honestly is the best policy when it comes to interviewing for a new job. If you lie or try to cover up the reasons for your termination and the potential employer finds out, they will most likely not be hiring you, especially if they have asked you for references. On the other hand, if you lie about the reasons for your termination at your interview (for example you say that you were terminated for restructuring when it was really due to poor performance), end up getting hired, and your new employer finds out that you lied to them, they may decide to terminate you for misrepresenting yourself.

Tip #2: Be brief

There is no need to provide a long explanation and specific details about your termination, such as how many warnings you received. You can be brief and simply say the reason you were terminated for was because of performance issues. Hover, if you have an explanation that explains why your performance was not up to par, do not be afraid to share it. For example, if you were terminated because your sales were down, but you had just been moved to a much slower sales territory – share this explanation with the potential new employer. However, do not try and make too many excuses for your behavior and do not speak ill of your past employer in any way. If you come across as resentful or confrontational it is very unlikely that a prospective employer will want to hire you.

Tip # 3: Explain your termination in a positive way

Another tip would be to spin your termination in the most positive way possible, and a good way to do this is explaining to the interviewer what you learned from your termination, and how you plan to improve going forward. This shows the interviewer that you see your termination as a positive learning experience, you have grown as an employee and that you will not make the same mistakes in the future.

Tip # 4: Do not mention your lawsuit

If you are negotiating your severance package or have hired a lawyer best practice would be to not mention this during your interview. If for some reason the interviewer asks you if you have an ongoing wrongful dismissal manner against your previous employer, you can simply say that you cannot discuss this as it is a confidential matter.

Please note that the above blog post is NOT legal advice and every case is different. If you have been recently terminated from your job, call Monkhouse Law today for a free 30-minute consultation with a licenced professional.

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