Severance pay for some, but not all - Fair or Unfair?

I was recently laid off after nearly 8 years with my former company. I did not receive any severance pay, and I understand that it is not a right to receive it. I am concerned, however, that other employees have received severance pay upon being laid off in the past. To me, this pick and choose policy of offering severance pay seems somewhat discriminatory as the pay that they received was immaterial to what I would have been paid if calculated the same way. Do I have any potential recourse here?

1 answer  |  asked Aug 3, 2009 10:03 AM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
Severance pay is usually paid by an employer in return for a release from any legal claim. Although is is common for employers to pay severance in the event of layoff, it is not required by law. You are right in noting that paying severance to some employees and not to others is discriminatory. However, employment discrimination is not unlawful unless it is based upon some unlawful criterion, such as sex, race, religion, color, national origin, age or disability. The fact that the employer paid severance in the past but is not paying it in this round of layoffs may have to do with the employer's financial distress. If others who were laid off with you did not receive severance, you will have a hard time making a case by comparing yourself to people who were laid off in earlier days.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Aug 3, 2009 11:44 AM [EST]

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