Employment Law

Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer, Get an Answer ASAP!

Downsizing Questions

Downsizing, also known as "trimming the fat" is a common practice in the business world, used in an attempt to make the business more efficient. Downsizing generally begins with thinning the overall number of employees within a company. With a weak economy, downsizing may be the difference between keeping the company afloat or sinking. Downsizing and layoffs can create a panic among employees and many questions will arise. Many people ask the Experts for answers about company downsizing and employment law. The Experts cover a wide range of downsizing related questions and can answer any question you may have. Below are five of the top downsizing questions that have been answered by the Experts.

Can employers deny a severance package if an employee refuses to relocate? Also, can an employee be terminated while on medical leave?

Without a written employment contract, your employer isn't required to offer you any type of fringe benefits. However, if you think that you are denied a severance based on a protected class such as age, race, gender, religion, or disability, you could file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and allow them to determine if you have a discrimination suit.

As for your second question, without a contract that states otherwise, your job is protected for 12 weeks under the Family and Medical Leave Act. If your employer terminates you during the 12 weeks, you can file a complaint with the EEOC and the commission on human/civil rights. However, once the 12 weeks are up, your employer can terminate you.

If an employee is terminated due to a company downsizing, should the employee "help" the ex-employer?

You shouldn't be expected to do anything for your ex-employer unless you want to. Considering the fact that the employer let you go, you should hesitate to do any favors for them. If in fact, they need your assistance, they should be paying you a consultant fee or offering you a job. There is no legal obligation that requires you to assist the ex-employer, especially without pay.

If a company is downsizing and offers an employee a different position in order to keep their job, does the company have to give a job description?

A company isn't required to offer a job description. If a company did give a job description, they are not legally bound to the description. The legal aspect of the job description is that it is not an employment contract; therefore it doesn't create a legally binding structure. This also allows the employer to change the circumstances of a position at any point during the employment. The choice is yours to determine if the changes are worth the pay and your time.

In Louisiana, is it legal for a company that is downsizing to offer an employee another position, but later terminates the employee?

Louisiana law states that if you don't have a written contract with your employer, they can terminate your position at any time and without cause. As long as the employer doesn't terminate your position based on your race, age, gender, religion or a disability, they are within their right to terminate you.

In California, is it legal for a company that is closing to deny the employee's benefits that have already been earned?

If an employer denies an employee's benefits that have already been earned, they are in violation of California labor law. You can contact the Department of Industrial Relations and report the violation. You can go here: http://www.dir.ca.gov/

When a company begins downsizing in order to stay afloat in a poor economy, the employees are flooded with panic. Many people have questions about their employment rights and want to learn more about corporate downsizing and how it affects the employee. If you are dealing with company downsizing, need downsizing help, or just want to learn more about downsizing and layoffs, you can ask an Expert. The Expert's answer many questions related to downsizing and can offer you a solution to your individual situation in an efficient and knowledgeable manner.
Please type your question in the field below

3 verified Employment Lawyers are online now

Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer are verified through an extensive 8-step process including screening of licenses, certifications, education and/or employment. Learn more



Doctoral Degree

8184 positive reviews
Allen M., Esq.

Employment Lawyer

Juris Doctor, Cum Laude

12444 positive reviews


Doctoral Degree

12239 positive reviews
See all Employment Lawyers
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.
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.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.