What to do if you are laid off

No one wants to be laid off from their job; however, lay offs do happen and if your company has announced a lay off it is a good idea to know what steps you can take to lessen the effect a lay off has on you and your family.

  1. Review any documents you received when you began your employment.

Sometimes employers include in their employee handbook a lay off policy that has helpful information regarding any benefits you may be entitled to should you be laid off. These might include job search services, severance pay, or information regarding pay out of accrued PTO or vacation time.

Initial employment documents might also include a non-compete agreement. While it may not seem fair, non-compete agreements are enforceable in the event of a lay off. If you have any questions regarding the enforceability of a non-compete agreement or its terms, it may be a good idea to contact a lawyer.

  1. Review any documents given to you at the time you are laid off.

When a company goes through a lay off they may be required – depending on the size of the company and the number of employees being laid off – to provide those employees being laid off with information about the other people being laid off. This information can help an attorney determine if there is a possible age discrimination claim. If you do not get this information, it simply means either the company or the size of the layoff was not large enough to warrant it.

Other possible documents you may receive at the time of the lay off include a release agreement. A signed release agreement prevents an employee from suing their employer for any wrong or discrimination that occurred during their employment or at the time they were laid off. Typically, in exchange for a release agreement the employer will provide some amount of severance pay. It is important to read the release agreement carefully. Some may include non-competition, non-solicitation, or non-disparagement clauses. If you have any questions about the contents of the release agreement, it is prudent to have the agreement reviewed by a lawyer.

  1. Apply for unemployment benefits.

If you lose your job as a result of a lay off you should apply for unemployment benefits with the Department of Employment Security. If you lose your job due to a lay off and through no fault of your own, you are likely entitled to unemployment benefits. While unemployment benefits are not going to pay you as much as your regular paycheck, they will provide you with at least a little income while you look for a new job.

If you have any questions regarding a layoff, please feel free to contact us any time.