Is my employer required to pay me severance if they’re closing all locations mine included in South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington?

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Is my employer required to pay me severance if they’re closing all locations mine included in South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington?

Our company told us 2 weeks ago that we will be closing for good and October 31, 2016 is our last day open. They told us that they aren’t paying us a severance package but is offering us a ‘stay put’ bonus of 1000 if we stay until the end of October. I have been with the company for 8 years as a manager. All prior stores that were closed received a severance package but now they’re saying they don’t offer them anymore. Is this legal?

Asked on October 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

A company is not mandated to offer severance pay; there is no law requiring this. That having been said, an employee has a right to severance if they were promised it (i.e. in the  employee handbook, an employment contract, union agreement, etc.) or their company has always given it to workers in similar situations. That having been said, the employee will have to show that they reasonably expected severance pay. Also, being offered a "stay put bonus", may factor into things. At this point, you can contact your state's department of labor and/or consult directly with an employment law attorney. for further information.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, there is NO obligation to pay severance at all: the law does not require severance, regardless of the reason employment is ending or being terminated. Also, the law does not require consistent treatment: severance may be offed to some employees, but not others; at some locations, but not others; and may be offered for earlier terminations, but not later. Therefore, your employer is not required to pay you severance.


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