- Missouri Employment Law Info Site – TimsLaw.com - http://www.timslaw.com -
On January 30, 2018, Harley-Davidson announced it was closing its Kansas City manufacturing plant. Over 800 jobs will be lost in Kansas City. If you get laid off from your employer and are offered a Severance Package, the EEOC has some guidance you should consider when deciding to accept the first offer from your employer (My comments follow each point):
1. Make sure that you understand the agreement. This is where an attorney can help you. The typical Severance Agreement (particularly from a large employer) is very complicated. I’ve found that they are filled with typical form language but are confusing. Having a consultation with an attorney to make sure you are aware of the contents of the agreement is crucial.
2. If you are 40 or older, your employer has to give you an easy to understand agreement. The Older Worker Benefits Protection (OWBPA) protects older workers and your employer has a duty to make sure you understand the agreement.
3.Don’t miss your deadline to either accept or reject the severance package. Calendar your deadlines and take immediate action! Let your attorney know the dates you received the agreement. Under the OWBPA and ADEA, if you are over 40 you are to be given at least 21 days to review the agreement. If you are laid off because of a “Reduction In Force” (large employers) than you should be given 45 days to review it.
4. Understand what rights you are waiving to get your severance pay. Usually you will be asked to give up any and all claims whatsoever, known and unknown. That’s right, you are asked to give up claims that you don’t even know exist yet! So if you think you have been discriminated against because of your age, race, sex, religion, etc., you will be asked to waive any possibility of filing any type of claim or suit against the company as part of accepting your severance. So it’s important to know what potential claims you may have.
I’m sorry you have been laid off, and understand how difficult it makes things for you and your family. Consider discussing the situation with an attorney.
For more information see the EEOC website on Severance Agreements in RIF actions: EEOC Info on Severance Agreements
Also see my article on Timslaw concerning a more in-depth view of Severance Agreements here: Severance Agreements
Call my Kansas City office to set up a consultation to review your Severance Agreement. My office is just down the street from the Harley plant at (816) 454-5600.
Maintained by Attorney Phil Willoughby
Founded by Tim Willoughby, Esq. (1959-2013)
Phil is a Missouri employment lawyer who is licensed to practice in Kansas and Missouri, and primarily takes cases in Saint Louis and Kansas City. He is a member of the Missouri Bar Association and Kansas Bar Association. Additionally, he has practiced in the United States Federal Courts of Missouri in St. Louis and Kansas City. He has also practiced in the Kansas Federal District Court in Kansas City, Kansas.
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