Can benefits be selectively changed for a small group

I work for a large US company, part of a multi-national. The company has US-wide benefits policy for all 20000 employees.

The company purchased a small company. My unit with 125 employees was integrated in to the newly purchased and merged company. Both old and new employees are part of the 20000 employee US company

We are told that our benefits will be reduced to match the lesser benefits of the new employees. We'll lose our severance policy and the bonus plan is significantly modified.

Is this selective reduction of benefits for a small group legal? Can our severance pay be reduced or negated? Can our bonus plan be changed so dramatically when the rest of the 20000 employees continue with no change to their's?

1 answer  |  asked Feb 12, 2011 6:22 PM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (1)

Arkady Itkin
Unless there is a contract between an employer an the employee, providing that the company must provide certain benefits or severance, the company is free to change the terms and conditions of employment as they see fit under the common, at-will employment doctrine. There is nothing illegal about modifying or even eliminating gratuitus benefits in the absence of an written obligation not to do so.


Arkady Itkin
San Francisco Employment Lawyer

posted by Arkady Itkin  |  Feb 12, 2011 6:48 PM [EST]

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