Protecting Yourself During a Layoff

worker moving a box after layoffUnderstand what your legal rights are when you’ve been laid off. Knowing the difference between an illegal layoff and a layoff that was simply unfair can help you decide whether to fight or move on.

Employment in most states is “at will,” meaning you can quit or the company can fire you without cause. However, companies still have to follow federal and state employment laws covering issues such as discrimination and layoff notices.

Discrimination laws

If you think discrimination played a part in your layoff, Contact The Cochran Firm New York for legal help.

Federal laws that prohibit discrimination include:

  • The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits companies from making employment decisions based on race, religion, sex, pregnancy or national origin.
  • The Americans with Disability Act of 1990, which prohibits employment discrimination against those with disabilities.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, which protects workers who are 40 years and older.
  • The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, which covers workers over 40 caught in a group layoff. This law gives you extra time to consider any severance waiver you employer offers and a week to change your mind after signing a waiver.

Large company layoffs

If you work for a large company, The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, may cover you. This act sets rules for notifying workers about large company layoffs and closures.

Company handbooks

Employee handbooks typically cover layoffs, severance, pay for unused vacation time and any duties to return any company equipment. An employer can change the rules in their handbook and then do a layoff under the new rules.

Layoff lawsuits

A lawsuit found in your favor can result in back pay, damages, and attorneys’ fees. After a thorough evaluation with your attorney, they can tell you whether your layoff appears to be legal or illegal.

Losing your job can be stressful, so it’s helpful to have someone there to offer advice and guidance. If you believe you have been illegally laid off from work or a victim of employment discrimination, contact The Cochran Firm New York today at 212-553-9215.