Employment Law

Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Employment Law
This answer was rated:

I am facing a potential layoff in the upcoming weeks. I have

I am facing a potential...
I am facing a potential layoff in the upcoming weeks. I have a copy of the severage plan that outline the terms of ineligibility. In the plan, it lists that if employee accepts a new position on or before employe's term date, employee would not be entitled to severance benefits. My dilemma is that I have been recently offered a position but have not yet accepted. I have been told that news of who will be laid off will be announced in a couple of weeks. If I accept this position in writing, will this severance be null and void if I stay through the required period? What are my rights under the law? Please advise as I would like to not pass on this new job opportunity but am so close to receiving severance package.
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Employment Law Question
Answered in 4 minutes by:
8/14/2013
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19,431
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
Verified
Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I bring nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines.

You have no special rights under the law that would stop the operation of the company severance policy. Severance is not legally required in any state or under federal law.

So, the only controlling factor, in terms of your rights, are those rights granted by the company severance policy. A court will only hold an employer to that policy.

So, if the employer's policy states that accepting another position before your termination date nullifies your rights to severance, that is a legal limitation that the employer is allowed to set on its policy. If you accept this job offer from another company and your current employer discovers that, they can deny you severance legally.

If you accept this other job and the employer doesn't find out about it now, but does within the time frame for the statute of limitations for a breach of contract claim (different in each state, but averaging around 4 years), the former employer could sue for a return of the severance based on that term.
Ask Your Own Employment Law Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago


Thanks for your response. Just a follow up question-if I were to take on consulting/contract work during off hours (not a permanent FT-position) would this be viewed in the same way. This would be like a PT job on the side. I want to think creatively as so much is at stake. Before I proceed in giving notice or declinging the new position, I am considering every option. I would of course need to see if the new co would be willing for this flex arrangement which may be too much to ask. In lieu of formal acceptance, I would try to show them my commitment and interest and have a way to fulfill their needs. If this a viable approach, would you suggest I discuss with hiring mgr vs HR, or unable to advise. I would believe the hiring mgr may be more open than HR.

That is really going to depend on how their severance is defining employment.

There is no real difference, legally, between a full time and consulting position. Both could be construed as employment by the former employer and that wouldn't run afoul of any existing definitions of employment.
Ask Your Own Employment Law Question
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Thanks..one last question-if there was no formal acceptance of a new position with another Employer (via in writing) but perhaps a verbal could it be defended and allow for entitlement of severence benefits?

Sorry to again have to refer to the company policy in this matter, but if they would count a verbal acceptance nothing in law is going to make that invalid.

In law, nothing about a verbal acceptance is less formal than a written acceptance. Many people believe that for something to be formal, it has to be writing. That's actually not true. Lawyers push for things to be in writing, not for the formality, but so that everyone agrees on what they are agreeing to. Having it in writing just gives better proof, but there is no legal need for something to be in writing for it to be legally "formal."

The problem that you are ultimately facing here is that the courts are going to err on the side of the employer. Unlike a right that you might have, like the right to unemployment benefits, where the state would lean in your favor, severance is not a right. It is a benefit offered by the employer and the state court would always be leaning in the direction of the policy set out by the employer, because they are offering something that they are not legally required to offer.

So, any sort of ambiguity is going to be interpreted in the favor of the employer here. You would have the burden to establish that you were owed severance (not them having to prove that they didn't owe you).

So, the court would have to see some definitive statement in the company policy on severance which indicates that you are only disqualified if you sign a written acceptance, rather than a verbal acceptance.
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19,431
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation
Verified
Allen M., Esq. and 87 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 4 years ago

I know that my employer can check, but is this something large companies typically do? Would a company be willing to provide this info to a former co(date of offer, offer acceptance)? Would they typically and willingly divulge if asked? I assume yes if subpoena but otherwise? Most employee checks that I have heard of for insurance, loans, etc check on salary and starting employment only.

If the severance is substantial, it would be something that a company would be willing to check into. It's not a common provision, so the employer must have placed it there for a reason, and will likely attempt to enforce it.

Would a company be willing to provide this information to your former employer? Maybe. Nothing in law would stop them from doing so, and your former employer could subpoena them to get the information. If the employer recognizes that they could be subpoenaed, they may just divulge the information to be left alone.

Yes, you are right about most of the things that companies will give out in an employment check, but they are not legally limited to only giving out those things. It's just what a company has chosen to give out.

Ask Your Own Employment Law Question
Ask Allen M., Esq. Your Own Question
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19,431
19,431 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Employment/Labor Law Litigation

Allen M., Esq. is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I must thank you all for such a positive and knowledgeable Expert in your Employment Law category. She has provided much relief and answers for me in the midst of dealing with a case. I am totally pleased with her customer service and care.

MildredWashington, DC

Excellent direction from Socrateaser to help me preserve and pursue my rights as a proud American who has become unemployed in this messed-up economic downfall. Thank you

Happy CustomerDenver, CO

Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises!

Gary B.Edmond, OK

My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer.

EricRedwood City, CA

I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight.

MichaelWichita, KS

PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent.

Three H.Houston, TX

Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!!

ElaineAtlanta, GA

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Tina

Tina

Lawyer

8,184 satisfied customers

JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.

Allen M., Esq.

Allen M., Esq.

Employment Lawyer

19,431 satisfied customers

Employment/Labor Law Litigation

Marsha411JD

Marsha411JD

Lawyer

12,316 satisfied customers

Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law

Infolawyer

Infolawyer

Lawyer

12,054 satisfied customers

Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.

JB Umphrey

JB Umphrey

Lawyer

6,273 satisfied customers

Assisting employees and employers for over 14 years.

John

John

Employment Lawyer

3,912 satisfied customers

Exclusively practice labor and employment law.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Dimitry K., Esq.

Attorney

3,007 satisfied customers

I provide employment and discrimination law advice in my own practice.

< Previous | Next >

Related Employment Law Questions
OHIO. i'm a mental health professional. AFTER a layoff due
OHIO. i'm a mental health professional. AFTER a layoff due to downsizing / workforce redesign, can a former employer legally deny me further access to personnel resources (including the personnel manu… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
I have a question about unemployment benefits and EEOC
i have a question about unemployment benefits and EEOC procedures … read more
LegalPro54
LegalPro54
Doctoral Degree
1,258 satisfied customers
I was denied an appeal for unemployment benefits as I
I was denied an appeal for unemployment benefits as I misread the letter they sent to me. I didn't notify them the day before the set telephone conference so they denied me benefits. I want to appeal … read more
Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley
JD
1,192 satisfied customers
Regarding: unemployment benefits As a manager, I was told
Regarding: unemployment benefitsAs a manager, I was told privately that my responsibilities were a failure, having role functions halted, re-assigned to others, and team re-assigned to other departmen… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
I need assistance on unemployment benefit qualifications. I
I need assistance on unemployment benefit qualifications. … read more
John
John
Employment Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
3,912 satisfied customers
I just learned I was denied unemployment benefits due to RCW
Good Evening my name is ***** ***** I just learned I was denied unemployment benefits due to RCW 50.20.050 WAC 192-150-110 and WAC 192-150-085. … read more
Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq.
Attorney
Juris Doctor
18,356 satisfied customers
I am the employer with an unemployment benefit claim against
I am the employer with an unemployment benefit claim against me from my ex employee that is also my step daughter. She had really been slacking on her job and not completing assignments given and givi… read more
Ray
Ray
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
30,865 satisfied customers
Can I apply for Unemployment Benefits a month after my last
Hi! Can I apply for Unemployment Benefits a month after my last day of work? State is MN. … read more
Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
12,316 satisfied customers
My unemployment benefits were suspended. Because I filed
Hi my unemployment benefits were suspended. Because I filed disability. I was givin wrong information from the social security administration. I have a lung disease .i was laid off from my job in Augu… read more
John
John
Employment Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
3,912 satisfied customers
I have a question about unemployment benefits in Texas.
i have a question about unemployment benefits in Texas … read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
Can I collect unemployment benefits if I was fired four yrs.
Can I collect unemployment benefits if I was fired four yrs. ago do to having to call in several times being under a Dr. Care.… read more
Michael Bradley
Michael Bradley
JD
1,192 satisfied customers
PA unemployment benefits. I was promised recall to my job,
PA unemployment benefits. I was promised recall to my job, was awaiting unemployment benefits, they told me I had to sign up to the job gateway. I did so but did not complete my profile 100% and compl… read more
PaulmoJD
PaulmoJD
Attorney At Law
Doctoral Degree
106 satisfied customers
I had my Unemployment benefits denied for an issue of NRS
I had my Unemployment benefits denied for an issue of NRS 612.434 "between terms" issue for educators. … read more
Maverick
Maverick
Doctoral Degree
6,134 satisfied customers
I have a question related to unemployment benefits in the
I have a question related to unemployment benefits in the state of CT and then working as an independent contractor. Can you assist me? … read more
John
John
Employment Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
3,912 satisfied customers
I recently filed for unemployment benefits and when asked
I recently filed for unemployment benefits and when asked how I lost my job which answered laid off due to slow down in business. My company told me was due to my attendance. I really feel like it was… read more
Infolawyer
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
12,054 satisfied customers
My question is dealing with unemployment benefits. First
My question is dealing with unemployment benefits. First I've worked over 20yrs never collect unemployment. I was laid off in 05/016, I collected unemployment form 12/16-05/17.I live in Pennsylvania n… read more
LawTalk
LawTalk
Attorney at Law
Juris Doctor
3,065 satisfied customers
I have apply for unemployment benefits. A letter was sent to
i have apply for unemployment benefits. A letter was sent to me saying that I did not earn enough in my based period to qualify for benefits.so my week benefit for this claim week is 0.00. I have been… read more
John
John
Employment Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
3,912 satisfied customers
I was denied unemployment benefits due to lack of good
I was denied unemployment benefits due to lack of good cause. I quit because I was suspended for leaving an unemployment hearing for a former team member. I was only supposed to be a witness if the re… read more
Infolawyer
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Doctoral Degree
12,054 satisfied customers

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x