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Thread: Position Elimination, Options, and Responsibilites of Me, the Employe Wisconsin

  1. #1

    Post Position Elimination, Options, and Responsibilites of Me, the Employe Wisconsin

    Hi there.

    My company has just gone through a restructuring. We have created several new positions. Unfortunately, we have to eliminate two old positions to make room for the new.

    In the first case, John, the employee, was offered a guaranteed promotion in this restructuring, but informed that his current position was being eliminated in the restructure.

    In the second case, Jane, is being offered a chance to interview for one of the new positions, but she is not guaranteed to have it (though both her and I know she is the front runner). The reason she is not for sure getting the promotion is that there have been disciplinary issues in the past, but she if the front runner because she is **** good at what she does. Her current position is also being eliminated.

    What are my responsibilities according to the law here? Do I have to offer them severance pay? Do I have to give them a specific window to decide? I'm under the impression my back side is covered, but another opinion always helps.
    Last edited by BluPhoenix28; 02-19-2012 at 11:02 AM.

  2. #2
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    There are only three states where severance is ever required by law and Wisconsin is not one of the three. As far as common practice is concerned John would not be entitled to severance in any state since he is guaranteed a new position, and Jane would not be entitled to if she turns down the new position, only if she ultimately does not get the new position. Again, this is by common practice, not law; in your state, and in 46 others, severance is never required by law (and it is only required in limited situations in the other three).

    Severance is commonly only offered when a position is eliminated AND there is no position available in the new structure for the employee. It is rare for a company to offer severance to an employee who is offered a position and who turns it down. It's not unheard of and it's not prohibited, but it is most certainly not required.

    This may sound like an odd question, but I assure you there is a relevant reason for asking it. How old are the two employees?
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbg View Post
    There are only three states where severance is ever required by law and Wisconsin is not one of the three. As far as common practice is concerned John would not be entitled to severance in any state since he is guaranteed a new position, and Jane would not be entitled to if she turns down the new position, only if she ultimately does not get the new position. Again, this is by common practice, not law; in your state, and in 46 others, severance is never required by law (and it is only required in limited situations in the other three).

    Severance is commonly only offered when a position is eliminated AND there is no position available in the new structure for the employee. It is rare for a company to offer severance to an employee who is offered a position and who turns it down. It's not unheard of and it's not prohibited, but it is most certainly not required.

    This may sound like an odd question, but I assure you there is a relevant reason for asking it. How old are the two employees?
    Both are quite young. John's position did not require him to interview. It was his from the moment of creation. Jane on the other hand, she must interview and has the chance to loose it.

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    Over 40 or under 40?

    There is a reason I'm asking this.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by cbg View Post
    Over 40 or under 40?

    There is a reason I'm asking this.
    Both are under 40.

  6. #6
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    Then there is no mandated window you have to give them to decide, and you are not obligated by law to provide a recission period
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    Severence pay is often offered in exchange for signing away any rights to sue. This wouldn't apply to overtime/minimum wage laws (I don't think) but might apply to other issues such as age discrimination. I'll let the HR folks clarify.
    I am not an attorney, and don't play one on TV. Any information given is a description only and should be verified by your attorney.

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    Since they are both under 40, age discrimination is not a factor.

    The employer is free to offer severance if he wants to. He is not required to do so by law.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    What are my responsibilities according to the law here? None. Whether you offer either or both parties a job in the new organizational structure is completely up to the employer. (Just as long as you don't fail to offer someone a position for a discriminatory reason, i.e. national origin, gender, race, etc.

    Do I have to offer them severance pay? Nope. And I certainly wouldn't offer someone severance pay who has been offered a job and declined it. They could have stayed working for you but chose not to.

    Do I have to give them a specific window to decide? No. Just do what seems reasonable and what business conditions dictate.

    I'm under the impression my back side is covered, but another opinion always helps. You're doing just fine.

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