Being laid off from a job can be one of the most stressful events a person can undergo in life. A loss of work and income can be emotionally difficult, financially burdensome, and present a variety of issues for an employee and his or her family. Unfortunately, layoffs can happen to anyone at any time. While some layoffs seem unfair, some may be downright illegal. If you have been the victim of a layoff that you suspect was illegal, consult with an experienced employment attorney to find out if you have a claim.
Factors That Protect Employees From Layoffs
Contract: Most employees work “at will,” meaning they can quit or be terminated at any time. Some workers may have an employment contract that makes them not an at-will employee. For example, if your contract states that you can only be fired for a specific reason, then you may not be legally fired for any other reason, even if it is reasonable.
Discrimination Laws: Have you faced prejudice in the workplace? You are protected by federal laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, and disability. If you can point to discriminatory comments made by your colleagues or employer, or you can prove that you were terminated over someone else who is your peer in every way, you may have an illegal layoff case.
Big Company Layoffs: Under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act, an employer is required to give notice of 60 calendar days before mass layoffs. The company must have at least 100 employees to be covered by the WARN Act.
Handbooks: The terms of layoffs and severance pay are dictated in the employee handbook, but your employer can change the rules of the handbook. Furthermore, a company can avoid paying severance by declaring bankruptcy.
Severance Releases: Your employer may ask you to sign a waiver upon receiving your severance pay that will release the company from future claims. In this case, you should speak to an attorney to find your legal recourse and review the details of the severance package before signing it. You may be able to leverage a better severance package with the help of a professional.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Represent Individuals in Wrongful Termination Cases