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I was recently laid off from Company X after working for them

for over 26 years (to...
I was recently laid off from Company X after working for them for over 26 years (to which they emphasized in writing and in person this was not performance base as I've received excellent reviews annually). I am 50 years old and I was home sick the day before and the day they asked me to drive into work to be laid off. This was a 3rd round of layoffs in the last 4 months - but I am doubtful any that have been with the company for over 26 years. Furthermore, they knew I was sick with a migraine and had me come to work anyway. To further matters, for the last 2 years traveling from State X to State Y for Company X business, I agreed to not be paid per diem to save Company X's overhead cost. They asked me to transfer to State Y in January (at my own expense costing about $4K out of my pocket) to only be laid off 6 months later. Furthermore, I am (was) paid a salary but my workload was very heavy requiring me to work many 50-60 hours week. The day after I was laid off, Company X management called me and told me the name of the person taking over my job and asked if I would agree to take her calls now and then for help as they weren't sure how to do the work I was performing. They are now flying 2 Company X individuals from out of state to State Y for the efforts I was working even though I am now locating here (so this has not been a company cost savings to this regard). Do I have any legal recourse regarding this situation?
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7/11/2013
Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20,550
Experience: Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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Hello,

Thank you for the information. Just to clarify what your specific question is, are you asking if you might have a wrongful termination claim? If not, please be more specific about your question. Also, can you tell me in general what kind of work that you did? I assume that you were not in a union or have a term contract, is that correct?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Wrongful termination, payment due (which I was also due a raise in May that I was promised to receive in August), per diem for 2 years of travel, relocation costs, etc.


Not in a union or a term contract

Thank you for that information but I still need to know what your job was. Also, what payment, other than per diem and the future raise and relocation expense are you wondering about if any?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I managed contracts on behalf of the company with the Government clients.


I was provided 1 month severance pay.


 


The expenses noted are all that I can think of at this time, along with wrongful termination

Hello again Kim and thank you for all of the additional information. I need to address the severance pay before the other issues, because if you signed a legal waiver/release as a part of receiving this severance (which is the usual procedure), then the rest of the issues are moot. Meaning that the legal waiver would have said that you waive any legal right to file suit for any alleged wrongdoing or outstanding legal claims with the company. That means you could not file suit for wrongful termination or for unpaid wages, etc., if you signed such a waiver even if those issues were valid. Of course, if you did not sign a waiver then the issues are still relevant.

In terms of wrongful termination, Louisiana, like most states, is an employment "at will" state. That means than an employer may terminate an employee for any, or no, reason and with no notice or warning unless the termination would violate an employment contract, company policy or employment discrimination law. So, unless one of the exceptions applies in your case, your employer could terminate you, or lay you off, even if the reason was arbitrary and unfair. Of course if, for example, you are in a protected class and believe that this was the reason you were let go, then you migh have a discrimination case/wrongful termination that you would want to speak to a local employment law attorney about.

As far as your unpaid expenses go. If the employer has a written policy or practice where they pay all employees' relocation expenses, and you did not waive that payment, then that would be a valid debt that you could file suit for under a breach of contract claim. As for the per diem, if you waived it, then since there is no law that requires the payment of per diem to employees, especially exempt employees such as yourself, there would be no legal claim to that money.

The raise, if it was due before you were let go, and unpaid, is a valid wage claim that you can file with the State or file suit, again for breach of contract.

Again though, all of the wrongful termination and wage issues are moot if you signed a legal waiver when you recieved your severance pay.

Please feel free to ask any related follow up questions that you might have. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20,550
Experience: Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Verified
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