Severance pay

I work for a Casino boat in Illinois. The company is in the process of replacing the boats with a permanent barge. Seeing as how I am the Captain of the boat, I will be getting laid off. I have a letter dated 8/26/98 stating "if the company is granted permanent dockside status and you are laid off because of this status, you will receive 12 weeks severance pay." I have 2 questions. Since 1998 I have had several raises. Does 12 weeks severance mean 12 weeks at my pay rate as of the day I get laid off, or would it be calculated using my positions base pay. Next, the letter I quoted above was signed by the General Manager at the time. Since then, the company has changed ownership twice and gone through several General Managers. The company, on several occasions, has said that it will honor this letter in meetings that we have had as recent as this summer. Is there any way they can change the terms of this letter, or not honor it?

1 answer  |  asked Dec 20, 2002 9:37 PM [EST]  |  applies to Illinois

Answers (1)

Aaron Maduff
Boat Captain's 12 week's severance

The pay rate at which you would receive severance is typically your current pay rate. If they have told you that you will get 12 weeks severance, you can probably trust that you will although there is no law compelling them to provide it. However, it is generally accepted that providing severance is the right thing to do and they will want waivers of claims from you. You do not have to accept severance pay if you do not want to waive claims, but then the real question is do you have any such claims. In this case, you have not identified anything that sounds like a claim so it probably doesn't hurt to waive them and take the severance package. But if you believe that there has been some kind of discrimination or failure to pay overtime or workman's compensation, etc., you may want to think twice about signing the severance package.
Aaron Maduff

posted by Aaron Maduff  |  Dec 21, 2002 2:39 PM [EST]

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