If my company is offering a voluntary layoff with 5 months severance pay but I reject it, can they lay me off because I inquired?

UPDATED: Jul 24, 2015

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If my company is offering a voluntary layoff with 5 months severance pay but I reject it, can they lay me off because I inquired?

HR specifically said verbally, “No harm no foul by inquiring about the package”.. One of the directors said “Supervisors who inquiried will be the first to go”. Is this legal?

Asked on July 24, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Actually you can be terminated for this reason, any reason or no reason at all. The fact is that most employment relationships are what is known as "at will". This means that, for the most part, an employer can set ther terms and conditions of employment as it sees fit. This includes who to fire, why and when. So unless you have protection under an employment contract, union agreement or company policy, etc. you can be discharged for making this inquiry. Also, no form of actionable discrimination can play a part in your [otential discharge; that would be illegal.

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