What to do if after just over 3 years, I was just informed that my executive level VP position is being eliminated due to downsizing with almost no severance?

I work for a public media company. The downsizing is from the company selling off a majority portion of the biz. No performance issues other than the fact that they cannot afford my position as a smaller company. In fact, I’ve always been told how important my role was in the company and how much I have contributed to moving the company forward. The shocking part of all this is the severance pkg which is basically 2 weeks for every year at the company. While I understood this to be the policy, it seems very unfair for my level position. Any legal recourse since I have no employment contract?

Asked on July 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, severance is not required by law--it is completely voluntary on companies whether to offer it and, if so, how much. If there had been a contract which specified a certain amount of severance, that contract would be enforceable; in the absence of a contract, it is at your company's discretion how much severance to offer--and they could even legally offer none. They also may terminate or lay off even the best employees, without notice, at will, if those employees have no contract protecting them. Unfortunately, while what you describe seems unfair, the law does not enforce fairness.

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