lousy deal

My husband was laid off after 13 years with no notice or severance. In his original contract, both parties were to give 1 month notice. His employer says that since it is a lay-off, they don't have to give notice. How long can a lay-off last before it becomes a termination? Also, they owe him $9,000 in expenses which they say they will pay in one month. Shouldn't that have been paid up front? Lastly, is a non-compete valid if you are no longer employed? Thanks

1 answer  |  asked Jan 6, 2004 9:16 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
Several Issues

Your question raises a number of issues. Before I answer, I must state that we have not spoken and that I do not represent you. Without meeting with you and discussing your concerns at length, there are necessarily going to be a number of facts missing from your question. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues arising within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey, but not to issues arising within other states. I am assuming from your question that your husband was employed within Pennsylvania.

That being said, your husband's contract most likely controls whether a 'layoff' requires notice; without the contract, I cannot tell you for sure whether notice is required. However, if this is a large layoff at a large employer, the Federal WARN Act may require notice, regardless of the contract. Furthermore, if this is a targeted sham 'layoff', it may raise an inference of discrimination against your husband if he is in a protected class (race, religion, age of 40+, etc.).
A layoff IS a termination, unless stated differently in the contract, which again, I have not reviewed. If there is a definite callback date and/or pay during that time, he may not be 'laid off' at all.

Fighting over a 30-day delay on $9,000 in expenses most likely won't be worth your time and money; the expenses should be due at the final pay date, but payment within 30 days creates little to no damages on your part. Furthermore, depending on how the expenses are structured, the employer may be within their rights to pay within 30 days of termination. The contract may control here, as well.

Finally, there is case law that states a noncompete is not valid if you have been terminated; however, these analyses are VERY fact-specific, and such case law may easily not apply to your husband. I would need to know facts surrounding your husband's job responsibilities, his position, the specifics and reasons behind the layoff and his inclusion in it and the nature of the industry in general to provide a more specific response.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to call me at the below number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
401 City Line Avenue,
Suite 904
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Jan 7, 2004 08:54 AM [EST]

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