Know These Legal Rights That Will Protect You From Wrongful Layoffs
Layoffs in companies are sudden and indiscriminate; a part of the workforce is fired because the company can’t afford to pay them. Most people are just shocked and upset when they first hear the news. However, it is crucial to know whether the company laid you off rightfully or not.
All employees have some legal rights that can protect them against wrongful severances. Most companies try to find their way out of paying their laid-off employee's severance pay. If you see this happening with yourself or with others, you must sue the company.
The process may seem daunting, but the reward will be significant when you win. Knowing these legal rights is the first step towards being informed and ready to face a company layoff.
Who is protected by these laws?
According to US laws, an employer can terminate an employee for any reason at all, as long as it isn’t discriminatory. If you can prove that you were laid off as a result of discrimination, you have a solid case.
Certain sections of society are protected by the law against discriminatory layoffs. These are based on sex, religion, origin, age, disability, or race.
People belonging to minority groups
If you belong to a minority group, you are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This Act makes it illegal for companies to discriminate among employees based on race, religion, sex, origin, or pregnancy.
People over 40 years
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 is to protect employees above the age of 40. If you are of this age, and you haven’t been paid severance you are legally eligible to get 21 days to accept severance offers made by the company. You also have 7 days to revoke your agreement to it.
People with disabilities
American nationals suffering from any disability are protected against discrimination by employers by the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) of 1990. You have to prove that you were laid off due to one of these and that you witnessed acts of discrimination against you.
People who care for an ill family member
The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protects people who have to take care of an ill family member against layoffs. It says that such people are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave along with continued medical insurance.
If your employer has violated public policy and you have reported it at some time and then get laid off in the future, you can claim that you were laid off in retaliation. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act makes it mandatory for large employers to notify their employees 60 days before, in writing. This is to prevent mass layoffs as a result of a plant closure or something similar.
When should you sue?
Merely looking up your rights online, depending on where you live can tell you what you can get back by suing your employer for wrongful severance. You can further consult a lawyer to find out if you can win a hefty sum or not. If you can genuinely prove discrimination or your employer has made a mistake, you have a strong case.
Look for work
After being laid off, look for work. Don’t just dream about becoming rich by suing your employer. A court case can go any way, so it is crucial to stay employed.