What to do if I was “temporarily laid off” 1 1/2 years ago and now my employer has given my position to another employee without notifying me?

UPDATED: Aug 22, 2011

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What to do if I was “temporarily laid off” 1 1/2 years ago and now my employer has given my position to another employee without notifying me?

I was laid off due to the economy 1 1/2 years ago, my employer stated he hated it and would do his best to get me back in asap. In the process of his speech, he told me that I had a target on my back. Someone in the office didn’t like me. I was office manager but the billing manager wanted the position. Found out today she is now office manager, promoted Friday. I wasn’t notified or contacted for my position back. Is there a law that would protect me from this situation? She made more money than me when I was laid off and I’m sure she has received another raise.

Asked on August 22, 2011 North Carolina


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately there isn't any legal protection for you on this. You employer was under no obligation to re-hire you. Unless of course you had an employment contract that governed this situation, or there was some company policy contrary to the way in which your situation was handled, or there was a union agreement to the contrary. Additionally, if any actionable form of discrimination was a factor in this matter you would have a claim. However, you did not indicate any of the foregoing to be the case.

By way of background, most employment arrangements are what is known as "at will". Accordingly, an employee can choose to work for a certain employer or not. In turn, an employer can hire or fire as it sees fit, as well as dictate the the terms and conditions of employment as it deems necessary (subject to the above; empolyment contract, etc). Therefore, an employer can terminate and refuse to rehire a given employee for any reason or even no reason.

Bottom line, I'm afraid that legally you have no rights to return to your former place of employment or to sue for any type of damages.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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