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Firing instead of layoff

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Wei Wang

What is the name of your state? MA

A close relative of mine told me her company is doing something illegal: while every company is trying to reduce cost by reducing/layoff work force, her company is firing employees instead. This small company (about 1000 employee) is an established DOD contract company. Its chief had openly announced that the company has no money to pay people off, but it needs to cut cost. Soon after his statement, a few people were fired.

The way it fires people is by putting a number of employees on prbation/on-watch. After a couple of months, it arbitrarily decides whom isn't fit and off s/he goes. When in one case, a senior employee argued that he had obtained excellent rating at all annual reviews. The company replied that his job/assign tasks are insignificant. In fear of been fired, he resigned. He is old
enough to qualify for early retirement and to live on pension.
The nasty fact is, for those who isn't qualified for early retirement would be in real trouble because whoever been fired can't even apply for government's unemployeement benifit, never mind other
benifit normally offered to layoff employees by all other companies.

Prior to this unbelievable way of cutting headcount, this company only fired people when they were caught while doing bad thing prohibited in a general business sense.

Is this company doing something legal? It is obviously to anyone when a company let go people all of a sudden and everyone is fired, and there is no plan of setting up layoff package, isn't it? :mad: :mad:


I'm a Northern Girl
I am also in MA. Unless the employees are under a contract or CBA that says otherwise, there is nothing whatsoever illegal about firing employees instead of laying them off. There is no law whatsoever requiring employees to be laid off and there is no law whatsoever requiring that they be given a severance package.

Who says that if you're fired you can't get unemployment? That is absolutely untrue. The only way you don't get unemployment is if you are fired for misconduct, and even then it depends upon the situation. Perhaps if the company had previously only fired people for misconduct it looked that way, but I assure you that it is not true. I have had employees who were fired for poor performance get UI. I have had employees who were fired for violating company policy, but where it didn't reach the level of misconduct, get UI. File for UI anyway. The company doesn't decide who gets it; the state does.

The only way this is illegal is if the employees who are fired are being selected on the basis of a protected characteristic. If you believe this to be the case, call the EEOC or MCAD.

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