What options does an employee have when its employer is merging?

Can a company that is merging two of it’s divisions demand you to either voluntarily resign so that you get severance package (but then cannot collect unemployment benefits), or relocate to another city? What action can the company take if you do not sign either?

Asked on September 21, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) You can be asked to resign in order to get  a package, though as you note, you then don't receive unemployment compensation. If you choose to not do this, then the company can fire you as long as:

a) Doing so is not a violation of any employment contracts, agreements, etc.

b) You are not being discriminated against in being fired (or pressured to resign) because of your membership in specifically protected category (e.g. race, religion, sex, age over 40, disability)

c) You are not being fired or pressured to resign as retaliation for your having filed a protected claim--like a claim for overtime--or exercised any legally protected rights (like taking FMLA leave).

Otherwise, companies can generally fire employees at any time, for any reason.

2) You can be told your job is being relocated; if you don't take the relocation, you can be fired, subject to the above.


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