A logo with a green background featuring the letter E and L combined like the letter "elf.
The logo for the esteemed employment law firm.
A business woman presenting in front of a whiteboard.

What To Do When Your Boss Is Trying To Fire You?

If you’re reading this, you haven’t been fired yet, which means that you haven’t done anything serious enough to get fired yet. However, if your boss does eventually try to fire you, it will be vital that you understand why they want to let you go. 

That way, when it happens, you can effectively fight back and even win! If your boss ever tries to terminate you, this article might help.

Ask for Honest Feedback

Getting fired can be a very stressful experience, especially if you weren’t expecting it. Also, getting back on your feet and finding a new job after being fired can take time. Here are some tips to help you stay afloat when your boss is trying to fire you. 

The primary thing you need to do is to ask for feedback about what you’re doing wrong and any poor performance. Don’t let them make any assumptions about the cause of the problem without hearing from you first. 

You can explain how you’ve been doing your job and tell them what you want to change to correct the issue. If they still insist that they want to fire you, you may want to offer an alternative, like resigning or taking a leave of absence. 

Before resigning, however, you should contact an employment lawyer.  Resigning can have legal implications on potential wrongful termination claims.  You should only resign after you’ve spoken with counsel.  

Paying for an attorney’s time to review your situation might cost a few hundred dollars in the moment, but you could gain thousands of dollars in the future by not waiving your rights.

Make sure not to argue with your boss because this will prolong the process. And don’t forget: as long as they haven’t written anything in writing yet, then they don’t have grounds for firing you!

Give An Ultimatum

After asking for honest feedback and standing up for yourself, it may be time to give an ultimatum. The solution can be as easy as stating: If you don’t want me here, I’ll find a different job. Of course, this will depend on your situation and whether or not you have enough evidence that the firing is unjustified or if they’re just unhappy with your performance. 

Again, we cannot stress enough how delicate these situations are and everyone’s case is different. As noted above, please speak with counsel before making this type of decision.

If you think they are going too far with their threats of termination, then you may be able to put them in their place by calmly requesting a meeting to discuss their concerns. 

Let them know that if these issues cannot be resolved amicably, you will have no choice but to explore other employment options.  

You can also try to negotiate new working hours, a change in work location to a different department, a change in job description, and/or a pay raise.  Although it might not seem intuitive, perhaps your boss does not know your worth but others in the company might feel differently.  If things aren’t improving, see if there are any opportunities elsewhere that might be better suited to your needs. 

Create A Win-Win Scenario

You can also try to create a win-win scenario for your boss.  Creating a win-win scenario takes time. But you might be able to accomplish this with your boss. Offer your boss solutions that will allow them to keep you on board, such as asking your boss to teach you new skills so you can perform more tasks and become indispensable. 

Create a plan for how you’ll solve any foreseeable problems they may have with your work ethic and performance, so they feel like they have some control over the situation. 

In other words, be cooperative. If this is not successful, try discussing the issue with HR, but be mindful of confidentiality agreements and union rules if applicable. A lawyer may also help. However, before you do anything else, document everything and keep your options open.

Be Nice, Even If They Are Not

No matter how this conversation flows, you should remain pleasant and calm the whole time. If they tell you to pack up your things or not to come back tomorrow, it’s probably a good idea to just nod and say I understand. 

Sometimes people who are going to fire an employee misbehave when firing the employee because they feel threatened by their soon-to-be ex-employee. If possible, avoid saying anything negative about your boss or company during the meeting. Just be polite and understanding. 

If you know that there was something unfair about your firing, like being treated differently because of discrimination, then now is a good time to bring up those concerns. 

Ideally, you would have spoken to counsel before it gets to this point.  It’s much better to voice your concerns before you’re fired as that might protect you.  If your boss fires you after you’ve raised concerns regarding discrimination or some other illegal workplace activity, you would have a great retaliation claim. 

Look Out for False Accusations

Hopefully, the reason for being let go will not cause further confusion. Be aware of what information can be shared with others if they ask why you left.  If your employer makes false accusations against you after you leave, you might also have a legal claim. 

You do not want your former employer to bad mouth you to potential employers.  Further, it’s easier to find a new job if you are able to obtain a good reference from your previous employer that you can speak to your job performance.

It is not always the case that your boss wants to fire you because you are a poor performer.  After you’ve obtained some constructive feedback, it might be worth mentioning that you would still like a reference.  

Document Everything for Human Resources and Try for Severance Pay!

Finally, don’t forget to document everything! Put the date and time of your conversations down with your boss. Keep a journal where you write down what happened each day. 

Write down why you think your boss is trying to fire you, and keep track of what your coworkers are doing. Write it all down so that when you get fired or resign, there will be a complete record of what happened when the time comes. Then, try to negotiate a severance package with your employer. Be polite, but firm in the conversation.

You also might want to consider looping in your lawyer for the severance discussions.  Attorneys are able to negotiate both monetary and legal terms on your behalf.  And are trained to do so.

If you decide to do it yourself, discuss the terms, such as how long it would take before you start receiving payment and when they would need written notice from you. If you can’t agree, find out if the company has any severance packages available for employees who are terminated without cause. 

If not, tell them you’ll be expecting their letter of termination within two weeks. If you still haven’t received anything by then, contact the HR department and make sure they’re aware of this situation. 

Source: Pexels

Start Looking For a New Job

If you cannot agree, you should start looking for another job. It’s always better to find a new opportunity than stay in a position where the boss is trying to fire you. 

Plus, this will give you some leverage during negotiations with your current boss. If they know of other opportunities you’re pursuing, they may be willing to compromise and offer you something more favorable. If you do decide to leave, make sure to get all of your company benefits before resigning!

It might also be a good idea to talk about unemployment benefits and whether they intend to contest them.  


It’s always tricky when your boss is trying to fire you. The best thing to do is look for ways to improve the situation and not just walk out of the door. 

You can try talking with your boss about things that may be causing problems, or if it doesn’t help, start looking for another job as soon as possible. Hopefully, this will help you find new opportunities and keep your dignity intact! 

Legal advice can certainly be helpful in this situation.  We are here to help.  Contact our employment attorneys in Pittsburgh or are Philadelphia employment attorneys to see how we can help you navigate this situation. 

we will review Your Case for Free

Skip to content