Rights of Employees
In our turbulent economy, employers frequently reduce their workforce and eliminate jobs to save money. Whether they call it a job elimination, job consolidation, downsizing, site closing, or use a more creative euphemism for losing your job, it can be extremely sudden and harsh. Likewise, unexpectedly losing your job can have a severe negative economic and emotional impact on you and your entire family.Legal Protection Against Wrongful Termination
While there is nothing illegal about an employer eliminating jobs, too often employers in New York and New Jersey use mass layoffs and reductions in force ("RIFs") as excuses to cover up illegal employment decisions, hoping nobody will realize (let alone be able to prove) why they selected a particular employee to lose his or her job. But regardless of whether you were fired or laid off, it is a violation of your employment law rights if your employer terminated your employment due to your age, color, disability, marital status, pregnancy, race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran or military status or for another legally prohibited reason.
Layoffs and reductions in force often occur as a result of redundancies caused by a merger or acquisition, when a company is trying to make itself more attractive to prospective buyers including leading up to an initial public offering (IPO), or when a business simply is trying to improve its bottom line. But no matter what the reason for the job eliminations, it is unlawful for an employer to use them to hide discriminatory or retaliatory employment decisions.
You have legal options if you have been laid off or downsized, or your job was eliminated as part of a reduction in force, and the reason the employer selected you was unlawful.
The New Jersey-based reduction in force attorneys at Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C. can explain your legal rights, and help you determine whether you have a legal claim. Please contact us today at (201) 777-2250 to find out more.Severance Negotiations
Many employers have severance policies or practices that require them to pay money to employees who they laid off, especially if the layoff occurred during a reduction in force. Other employees may be entitled to severance pay if they lose their jobs during a mass layoff based on language in their individual employment contracts. Either way, our New Jersey reduction in force lawyers may be able to negotiate additional severance, or improve the other terms and requirements of the severance offer you have received.
Even employers that do not have severance plans may be willing to negotiate a settlement for an employee who loses their job through no fault of their own, especially if the employee has a discrimination, retaliation or another employment law claim. For more information, please see our severance negotiations page.State and Federal WARN Acts
In addition, the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification ("WARN") Act requires larger companies in both New Jersey and New York to provide employees at least 60 day's advance notice of an upcoming mass layoff or plant closing. Similarly, the New York State WARN Act requires larger companies to give their employees at least 90 day's advance notice before a mass layoff or plant closing.
New Jersey's WARN Act is even more generous. Under it, when there is a large enough layoff, the employer must provide at least 90 days' notice prior to the layoff, plus at least one week of severance pay per year of service, to the employees who are impacted by it. For more information, please see our article: New Severance Entitlements to New Jersey Employees Subject to Mass Layoffs.
Please contact us today if you have been adversely impacted by a reduction in force and you would like to learn more about your legal rights. We will listen carefully to the facts, explain your legal rights, and help you understand your options before helping you decide the best course of action. Our telephone number is (201) 777-2250.