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What’s this I hear about a ‘cooling-off’ period in layoffs involving severance pay?

Q. Is there a law that requires a 45-day waiting period from the time employees are told they’ll be laid off until they receive the severance payment? My supervisor said it’s called a cooling-off period.

RIF might affect employees serving in military? Don’t hold missed training against them


Watch out if you’re contemplating a layoff that could involve employees who have recently returned from active duty in the armed forces. If those employees missed any training, and you plan to use training as one of the criteria for deciding which employees to retain, you run the risk of violating USERRA.

Terminating employee? Don’t forget appropriate notifications


Terminating employees is never easy. Not only do you have to think about the employee’s reaction and those of co-workers who may be worried about their own jobs, you also have to worry whether the employee will sue and how to minimize the risk. One area you have control over is making sure that every terminated employee receives legally mandated termination notices. Here’s a quick guide.

Don’t sweat the small stuff: It’s no basis for lawsuits


Employees seem to think they are entitled to a perfect workplace, free from any conflict or unpleasantness. But that isn’t true. Heck, it’s not even possible! Courts rarely indulge such claims. They’d rather sort out real discrimination and harassment cases, not waste time on hypersensitive employees.

If reorg cuts jobs, check for inadvertent bias


Is your organization planning big changes that could result in layoffs? You may have no choice. But a poorly planned and implemented layoff can cost more than it saves if it invites lawsuits. That’s why it’s important to check for potential race bias or other discrimination before making final decisions.

Layoffs looming? OK to consider training participation when deciding who goes


Like other employers, your organization probably is trying to use employees as efficiently as possible. That may include eliminating some jobs and training employees to pick up additional tasks. You may want to consider creating a cross-training program before deciding which employees to terminate. Those who show a willingness to learn new skills and the ability to perform them well are probably the “keepers” on your staff. Just make sure you offer everyone the same opportunity to learn.

Pinellas uniform company to try on age-bias suit


Fifteen former employees of a Pinellas uniform company have filed suit against the company, claiming its latest rounds of job cuts violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. In a combination of outsourcing and downsizing, Superior Uniform shipped some jobs to El Salvador and eliminated positions at its plant in Seminole.

Good-faith treatment for all is good policy, and good protection against lawsuits, too


Employees who claim they have been discriminated against typically have to show that their employers singled them out for poor treatment because of a protected characteristic. It’s easy for employers to counter that if they can show they always act in good faith. The best way to do that is to apply the rules equally to every employee.

DOL awards $5.3 million to Texas aerospace workers


The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration will provide more than $5.3 million to the Texas Workforce Commission to assist recently laid-off aerospace workers. The federal grant is aimed at helping 600 workers who lost their jobs when NASA began retiring the Space Shuttle program.

COBRA subsidies expiring: DOL offers guidance

The federal government has answers for terminated workers who are concerned that their COBRA continuation health insurance coverage may soon get more expensive or expire all together. As federal subsidies for COBRA coverage start running out, be ready with information when your former employees call.