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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 15760
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I have been with my company for 13 years and the plant is

Customer Question

I have been with my company for 13 years and the plant is shutting down. My last day will be 11/4. Our new controller started 4/1/16 and she told me that I need to train her on my job before I leave, because she is staying through March 2017.
If I refuse to train her, can I lose my severance package?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. One moment please...

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Thank you for your patience. First of all, you need to understand that Florida is an at-will employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion.

Florida law does not require employers to provide employees with severance pay. If an employer chooses to provide severance benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. Now it can establish a policy by "practice" rather than written policy, but to establish any sort of discrimination, you would need to show that one class of individuals was disproportionately benefits (for instance, only males got severance packages and females didn't) to have a claim of discrimination in that matter. As for the "leverage" to negotiate a severance package, it doesn't sound like you have much, if any. Again, Florida is an "at will" employment state and employers have discretion in this regard. Severance packages are generally offered in exchange for the signing of a waiver of any claims that you would have against the company, if any. If you had evidence that you were targeted for race, age, gender, religion, etc... then you could use that as leverage to get a bigger severance (because you could make a claim otherwise).

As the law doesn't require that they provide severance, any severance provided can be done in conformance with their policies and conditions, so if they have not stated that it's "unconditional" or otherwise "earned" by you, they could take it away, especially if you refuse to perform job duties that they describe. Basically, they can terminate you prior to laying you off because you refuse to do what they tell you to do. I'm not saying that they will, but they legally can. It's unfortunate, but it's what is legally allowed.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions)

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Should I continue to await your response, or may I assist the other customers that are waiting?

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

My apologies, but I must assist the other customers that are waiting. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for the time (~55 MINUTES) and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★).

If you feel that I have gone above and beyond in this answer (my average answer is about 10 minutes) bonuses are greatly appreciated. Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

▼ RATING REQUIRED! ▼ Please don't forget to Rate my service positively. It's only after you rate that I am credited.

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Are you there? Please note that I am still here, awaiting your response or rating... (please note that rating closes this question out, so if there's nothing else, please rate it so that I can assist other customers that are waiting for answers to their questions)

Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 2 months ago.

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

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