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Burning bridges while going viral: What are your rights when you lose a job?

Marina Shifrin quits her job.

Only 74,000 new jobs were created in December, the lowest number in three years. And in this climate, millions have felt the sting of job-loss.

In one high profile case recently, writer Will Blythe was let go from The Byliner, with a standard two-week severance package — in exchange for signing a non-disparagement clause. He was asked to not publicly criticize his former employer, but Blythe declined.

And he wrote about it in the New York Times.

“I think what you’ve seen over the recent years is the internet becoming that megaphone,” says David Yamada, Professor of Law at Suffolk University in Boston. “You’ve got sites like eBosswatch and Glassdoor, and general sites such as YouTube and Yelp, where people are posting about their workplace experiences.”

Two weeks pay can be vital, so what are your rights when you're let go? And what can you do to protect yourself without leaving money on the table?

“There are trade-offs in terms of that decision,” Yamada says. “They could ask, in return for signing that non-disparagement clause, for a positive reference. For someone who just lost their job, not only are they looking at replacing that missing income, but even more importantly, is the opportunity to get new employment. A positive reference could be a difference maker in the future.”

About the author

Carmen Wong Ulrich is the former host of Marketplace Money, APM’s weekend personal finance program.
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Since the global great recession that bush left us with plus his needless invasion of Iraq is what we have to deal with now. The worst recession in history is still affecting the world economy long after "Dumbya" has left the scene.
There are no trade offs in terms of the decision to alert the world how you have been treated as an employee in the past if you're long term unemployed due to the effects of the "Bush Great Recession" because people who are long term unemployed are now considered "unemployable". I would have no hesitation telling anyone.

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