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

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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.

How many weeks pay would you give up to quit your job, say whatever you want and not worry about career repercussions?

“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.”

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