Denial of Severance Previously Promised

My state is an "at-will" state, however, since the company is one of the nation's largest media corporations, they have a company severance policy.

On May 14, our department was notified of a reorganization. We would have to move 200 miles to keep our jobs, or find something else. We were told that this change would take place in 60-90 days, but to date no specific date has been given. We were also told that should we leave, we would be entitled to a severance package. Upon meeting with Human Resources a month later, I requested the corporate severance policy in writing. The representative told me she would get it to me the next day. I never received it and subsequent requests warranted the response, "I cannot release that information at this time." I have since researched and found the policy myself in our employee handbook.

Now that I have found another job, the company is denying me severance benefits. They claim that because I am not staying until they close our doors, I am not eligible. The policy does not indicate a time period for which you have to stay employed with the company in order to receive the benefits. They are calling my departure a resignation, although my letter CLEARLY states that my departure is a result of the reorganization of my department to a location in another city where commuting is not an option. The word "resignation" or any word synonymous with it is completely absent from my two weeks notice.

Is there any employment or labor law that I can cite, along with supplying them with a version of their own policy, in order to get compensation that was promised to me? Thank you.

1 answer  |  asked Jul 2, 2003 11:52 AM [EST]  |  applies to Texas

Answers (1)

Margaret A. Harris
The Law of Contracts

You need personal legal advice. There is no easy answer because whether you have a claim for money based on the law of contracts will depend in large part on what the document says. I suggest that you make an appointment for a consultation with a lawyer who knows employment law.

posted by Margaret A. Harris  |  Jul 2, 2003 2:22 PM [EST]

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