Is it legal to terminate someone because their position was supposedly eliminated but then post it on the company career site?

I was terminated because the new client contract my employer signed did not have funding for my position, however my position responsibilities with a new title are posted as an open position on the companies website. I applied for the position which was never offered, nor mentioned at me termination. The company refused to respond. I also received a severance offer that states I can never work for the company or affiliates in the future. I was told simply, my position was eliminated and it has nothing to do with performance or anything else. Why would they want me to sign this?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you did not have an employment contract guarantying your job, you may be fired at ay time, for any reason, and a company is not obligated to offer you any new position, even one which matches your old postion exactly. Also, the company is not barred from firing you, then immediately looking to hire somoene new for the job.

If the company fired you for a discriminatory reason--e.g. because of your race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability--then that would be illegal and you may have an employment discrimination claim. But otherwise, as stated, they can do what you describe.

It doesn't matter why they said what they did, so long as they did not discriminate. There are, in any event, many reasons why they might have said what they did--for example, maybe a client didn't like you, and they wanted to spare your feeling; maybe you performed poorly,  but they wanted to give you a face saving excuse; maybe they fired you to hire a friend of the boss, which is legal, but which they might still be embarrassed about; etc.

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