My job in California, is doing a lay off in my Dept. I'm on a corrective action right now. Can they hold off on paying me severance pay when everyone else is getting paid severance

I was just given my first corrective action. I was told I cannot post out to other jobs not am I eligible for any compensation bonus. Nothing was mentioned about holding off paying any type of severance. do they have the right to hold off paying me Severance pay when everyone else is getting paid severance checks at the end of our employment

2 answers  |  asked Aug 5, 2017 06:41 AM [EST]  |  applies to California

Answers (2)

Marilynn Mika Spencer
I agree with Arkady Itkin, with two exceptions.

First, if the lay off meets the definition of a "mass lay off" as defined in the federal WARN Act of California's WARN Act, and if the severance is in lieu of the 60 days notice required by the WARN Act, then most likely your employer would have to pay you the severance, too. You can get a good overview of the WARN Act here:

Second, if the corrective action was issued to you illegally, then any negative consequences of being placed on corrective action are most likely illegal, too. What might make the corrective action illegal? Discrimination (say, you were treated differently because of your race, sex, disability, religion, etc.) or because you blew the whistle on a matter of public concern (say, you revealed that the employer is overcharging the public, polluting the neighborhood, etc.), or some other protected act on your part.

Otherwise, as Mr. Itkin states, severance is voluntary on the part of the employer and the employer can set its own terms for who is eligible. This freedom is based on California's at-will doctrine. Please see my guide to at-will employment in California which should help you understand employment rights:

Employment rights come from the state and federal legislatures. One of the best things people can do to improve their employment rights is vote for candidates with a good record on pro-employee, anti-corporate legislation. Another way to protect employment rights is to form or affiliate with a union, or participate in a union already in place.

Good luck!

posted by Marilynn Mika Spencer  |  Aug 5, 2017 6:46 PM [EST]
Arkady Itkin
Unless specified in an employment contract, severance is purely discretionary. An employer has no obligation to pay any severance, specific amount of severance or equal severance to any employee. As such, it's purely negotiable.

posted by Arkady Itkin  |  Aug 5, 2017 3:45 PM [EST]

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