California Employment Law

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I live in Texas which is an at-will state, but my employer…

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I live in Texas which...
I live in Texas which is an at-will state, but my employer just laid off myself and about 20 other employees, closed the facility with no advance notice. Administration called an impromptu staff meeting and told everyone the facility was closing the next day. We refused patients attempting to check into the ER for treatment during the meeting. We were offered a severance package if a lawsuit waiver was signed. I am concerned this is illegal and my rights have been violated. Should I seek legal assistance? Do I have a wrongful termination suit? Did my employer violate WARN? Please help I need answers fast this just happened yesterday and I have to act fast.
Submitted: 3 years ago.Category: California Employment Law
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6/3/2015
California Employment Lawyer: Patrick, Esq., Lawyer replied 3 years ago
Patrick, Esq.
Category: California Employment Law
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If your employer did not lay off at least 50 people (and it seems they didn't), then WARN would not apply and your employer would not have any legal obligation to pay severance. Their decision to offer severance would be motivated instead by their desire to obtain a waiver of the employees' rights to sue.
Note that just because an employer offers a waiver of an employee's right to sue does not mean the employee has a legitimate basis to sue. Most employees don't, and the facts you describe do not suggest any grounds for legal action. Most employers still offer severance in exchange for a waiver because it brings closure and precludes having to spend money defending against frivolous lawsuits. This has value to employers regardless of whether there is any actual exposure.
Perhaps you can negotiate a little bit more in severance, but bear in mind that this is not a situation in which you hold many cards, and if your employer is inclined they could revoke their severance offer altogether. So, a tactful and professional request for a larger severance package might not be unwise, but making any sort of demand or threat is unlikely to result in a positive outcome.
I hope that you find this information helpful. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.
If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.
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