Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
I hope this message finds you well, present circumstances excluded. Unfortunately, unless you have an employment law contract that states to the contrary, you are considered to be employed at will. This means that your employer can terminate your employment for any reason or no reason at all, without notice.
I know that is inhumane to be treated like this...especially in a world in which jobs are hard to come by, but the law is what it is relative to at will employment status.
That being the case, because you were laid off and not terminated, you will likely be able to apply for and receive unemployment coverage that will help you defray costs and will give you income in the meantime before you are able to locate future employment.
The health insurance matter really has little to do with the situation, unfortunately as well. There are a lot of companies struggling with this issue right now in view of the mandate to provide insurance to employees that will take effect in the near future.
That issue, though, is separate and distinct from employment at will status. That said, if you did have an employment contract or union contract, and the employer violated any provision of that contract by terminating you, then you may have a cause of action to bring suit against said employer.
I wish I had better news for you but I am obligated to convey the legal reality of the situation.
Let me know if you have any additional questions or comments. I want to make sure you are completely satisfied with the information moving forward knowing your rights.
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