denial of severance after layoff

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denial of severance after layoff

My daughter’s employer Pearson Publishing has been laying off many employees with severance. Then the company opens several positions that the employee can opt to interview for within the company. If the person interviews and subsequently gets an offer of employment but rejects the offer, he/she loses the severance initially offered at the time of layoff.

This doesn’t seem right to me. Is this legal?

Asked on March 11, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, this is legal. The fact is that severance pay is not legally mandated. Therefore, to the extent that an employer chooses to pay it, it can set the conditions under which it is or is not given. That is unless such action violtes the terms of an employment contract/union agreement or constitutes some or of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. is based on race, religion, nationality, age (over 40), gender or disability0.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

It is unfortunately completely legal. Remember: there is no legal obligation on employers to pay severance, and employees never have a right to it (unless they have a written employment contract guarantying them severance). Since the employer doesn't have to offer severance unless they voluntarily choose to offer it, they are free to put any restrictions or limitations they want on it, including the restriction you describe.


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