How can I ask to be laid off with severance pay?

I started working for this company 6
months ago. I manage a territory for
sales and the company stopped
servicing most of my area, cutting my
territory down to 1/3 of what it was.
Now they want to change my title to
increase my sales goal 3 fold. So
they’re reducing my territory while
increasing my sales budget. I want to
ask them to lay me off and give my
territory to my colleague, whose area
was also reduced. They will save
money on my salary.

How can I ask to me laid off?
Can I request severance? If so, how
and how much?
Can I refuse the job title change and
what would be the repercussion?

Asked on March 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is no set or recommended way to ask to be laid off--it depends on your manager(s) personality(ies) and your relationship with him/her/them. 
You can *request* severance--anyone can ask for anything--but they have no legal obligation to provide it. Except when already guaranteed by a written contract, severance is purely voluntary in this country. What you can do is if you are terminated or laid off, or if you do resign/quit, if the company wants something from you (your help during a transition; you to stay for a few more weeks or months, while they recruit to replace you; your agreement to keep information confidential or not disparage them; etc.) you make that contingent upon receiving severance--i.e. if they should want something from you, they can pay for it.
If you refuse a job change, you can be fired "for cause"--for insubordination and/or not following intructions--which means you would not be eligible for unemployment benefits. An employee has NO right to refuse a change in title, duties, job, etc. unless he or she has a contract giving him or her that right.


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