I have been with my company for 23 years and have written policy and there was a presedensce of former employees receiving severance. Our policy states that we receive one weeks pay for each year work if I retire, quit with at least 2 week notice, laid of

I work for a union office collecting members dues and was promised this severance package and also have it in writing in our policy. There is only myself and another employee left that were hired under this policy and we also have an employment contract that states we cannot be laid off just to be replaced whenever new business agents are elected into the office. We are now being told that it is an illegal contract?? How could a contract be illegal and all our benefits be changed.

1 answer  |  asked Aug 20, 2015 5:10 PM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

V Jonas Urba
By contract you mean the union collective bargaining agreement I presume. Those agreements are enforceable contracts. You should consult with an employment law lawyer to advise you regarding worst case scenarios of how to enforce such contracts if the terms changed without notice to members.

You especially need skilled counsel because, unless the union or management are willing to put your current severance terms (if any) in writing, the only way to find out might be to give your 2 week notice. If you are almost ready to retire or ready you may ask your union rep whether you can file a conditional notice of retirement. Something like "here's my 2 week notice but it's only valid if I receive the 1 week for every year of service severance payout." Then if they say "no" grieve it the way you would any other grievance since you still have or should have your job.

Sit down with a skilled employment lawyer before you try anything like that to make sure the language of your bargaining agreement does not backfire on you. Good luck. Interesting question. Many non-union employers have these types of unwritten severance policies but those are often negotiable for more. Your agreement, if it states what you believe it does and has not been lawfully modified (unions can renegotiate many/most terms for members) may entitle you to the terms you believe?

posted by V Jonas Urba  |  Aug 20, 2015 5:41 PM [EST]

Answer This Question

Sign In to Answer this Question

Related Questions with Answers

Have an Employment Law question?