Are you next on the list? How can you tell?These are normal concerns for any employee in the workforce, especially in a bad economy where every WSJ or NYTimes article foretells of more layoffs and corporate budget cuts. How can you protect yourself in this environment? Be aware of the signs. Unless you are caught in a company wide layoff, you will always see some form of the followingsigns before you are terminated:-Alleged Performance Issues: a supervisor or HR may raise a performance issue with you, claiming that you have violated some company policy or procedure and giving you a period of time within which to “correct your performance.” If you disagree with anything at all contained in performance evaluation, make sure you don’t sign it and dispute it in writing. If you don’t, you will be deemed to have agreed with everything contained in it. In some instances, the statements contained in your performance improvement plan may not be clear enough, and in which case, you must ask for more specificity and clarity on the issues. It is very important that you contest an improperly given negative evaluation to take the sting out of it. This is an indicator that your supervisor is documenting a reason to support your termination.-Being Excluded From Meetings: If you are being left off meeting invites for events or gatherings where your presence would be normal, you should beconcerned. Keep a log of these exclusions but know that there is a reason forthis if its happening more than once.-Being treated differently (negatively) from other employees: This is a clear sign that something is afoot and that a decision maker is upset withyou. Again, you should keep a detailed log of how you are being treated differently, the dates when the incidents take place and the other people involved or witnesses.Above all, the issues that you are experiencing are all signs that something is not well at work. You should seek legal counsel as the way to handle the situation differs from a case-by-case basis.