Is it legal to fill a position by

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Is it legal to fill a position by

I was hired as a manager by a company that acquired a section of the company I used to work with. Then, 2 weeks after I started, the hiring manager resigned. My role became uncertain. In the last 6 weeks, I have been getting mixed messages about the future of the position. At times they ask me to put forth a proposal to proceed with the job and at times they ignore me. HR poorly handled my situation. Today they informed me that the position is eliminated. They blame senior leaders who were no longer with the company for the confusion. Due to this, I lost my layoff package from my previous company 12 years of service. This company is in the process of filling manager roles with exactly my qualifications in different departments. I know that they hired one of my previous co-workers with whom I used to work and in the process of interviewing another one. They have no intention of offering me an alternative equivalent role even though many are still available and match my qualification. They are in the process of preparing my layoff notice. If I get laid off do I have a case? I’m also concerned that even though my position is closed.They did not give me my notice yet to buy more time and fill all manager roles. They might intend to offer me a lower level position as an alternative of getting laid off. Is this legal?

Asked on March 30, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) As a general matter, if you did not have a written employment contract, you can be laid off or terminated at any time, for any reason; and a company can elect to not give you (or even let you apply for) an equivalent role. They can let A transfer from one job to another, but not B, or retain A while not retaining B. Without a written employment contract, you are an employee at will, and employees at will have essentially no rights to their jobs.
2) Even if you'd had a written employment contract, under the facts you describe, it probably doesn't apply: if a "section" of your former company was acquired, the new company probably bought just the assets, not an actual LLC or corporation, and if they don't buy the LLC or corporation, they are not bound to any contracts the old employer had entered into with employees, unless they voluntarily chose to take over ("assume") those contracts and be bound by them.
3) And they can offer you a lower level position instead of laying you off (or a position at a different location, if they have other locations)--that is also legal under employment at will.
Under the facts as you describe, therefore, you most likely have no case, unfortunately.


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