What to do regarding severence pay and a service award?

I work in California for a bank as a loan assistant in the Small Business Administration department. Our bank is being merged with another bank, date of acquisition is the close of the third quarter. I’ve worked with the bank for over 5 years and I’m being laid off with severance at the end of the acquisition.

My HR director is refusing to honor my service award of 5 years because our bank is being merged with another bank. Is that illegal? From the policy,

Asked on June 6, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, it depends on the timing:if you passed your five-year benchmark pre-merger, they would you the service award, since you qualified for it while still employed by that same entity. In this case, if not paid, you could sue for it (e.g. in small claims court); you would sue the "old" bank (the one you worked for five years). Whether it's worth suing for $200 is another story, of course.
If the merger occured before your accumulated your 5 years, since that almost certainly resulted in you no longer working for the same entity, they would not owe you the service award.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Based on what you write, it depends on the timing:if you passed your five-year benchmark pre-merger, they would you the service award, since you qualified for it while still employed by that same entity. In this case, if not paid, you could sue for it (e.g. in small claims court); you would sue the "old" bank (the one you worked for five years). Whether it's worth suing for $200 is another story, of course.
If the merger occured before your accumulated your 5 years, since that almost certainly resulted in you no longer working for the same entity, they would not owe you the service award.


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