Change is the only constant in the world, and our professional life is no different. Companies often decide to try restructuring which can make employees feel that their jobs are not secure. Restructuring is actually a process where companies shift their internal hierarchy, structure and operations.
Whether your company is growing, merging, or making strategic shifts, understanding your rights as an employer is very important. We’re here to break it down for you, providing straightforward information to empower you during these times of workplace change.
Key Employee Rights in the U.S.
Notification and Communication
During company restructuring, it’s crucial for employees to be aware of their rights regarding advance notice of significant changes. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act plays a pivotal role in this. Enacted to protect workers and their families, the WARN Act requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide a 60-day notice before certain plant closings or mass layoffs. This advance notice allows employees to prepare for the changes and explore alternative options.
Severance pay serves as a financial cushion for employees facing job loss during restructuring. Defined as a sum of money offered by employers upon termination, it provides a bridge for employees as they transition to new opportunities. The lawyers at Browne Employment Lawyers have stated that employee entitlements to severance pay can vary based on factors such as length of service, position, and company policies. It’s important to carefully review any severance package offered, considering aspects like the amount, duration, and any conditions attached.
Maintaining healthcare benefits is a significant concern for employees amidst restructuring. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) addresses this by allowing eligible employees to continue their health insurance coverage for a limited time after job loss. COBRA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, ensuring that individuals and their families have a safety net for medical coverage during transitional periods.
Job Transitions and Placement Services
Employees undergoing job transitions due to restructuring have rights concerning placement services and reemployment support. Companies often provide assistance in the form of career counseling, job placement, and skill development programs to aid employees in finding new opportunities. Understanding these rights empowers employees to actively engage in their career transition.
Discrimination and Retaliation Protections
Amidst company restructuring, it’s imperative for employees to understand the framework of discrimination laws in place to safeguard their rights. Federal laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, age, disability, and more. These laws apply even in the turbulent times of restructuring, ensuring that employees are protected from discriminatory actions.
Employee Rights Regarding Protection from Discrimination and Retaliation
Employees have the right to a workplace free from discrimination and retaliation, irrespective of organizational changes. During restructuring, it’s crucial to know that exercising your rights, such as reporting discriminatory practices or participating in investigations, should not lead to retaliation. Protections against retaliation are reinforced by laws like the Whistleblower Protection Act and the anti-retaliation provisions within discrimination laws.
Legal Recourse for Employees Who Believe Their Rights Have Been Violated
If employees believe their rights have been violated during restructuring, legal recourse is available. Initiating internal complaints with the company’s human resources department is a first step. However, if internal avenues prove insufficient, external options can be explored. Employees can file complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the appropriate state agency. This process is designed to investigate claims and, if necessary, pursue legal action. Employees also have the right to seek legal counsel for guidance through this process.
Seeking Guidance in Case of Non Compliance from Employers
If, during company restructuring, you find yourself facing challenges or believe that your rights are not being upheld by your employer, seeking professional guidance becomes crucial. Employment lawyers that specialize in navigating the intricacies of employment law, offering expert assistance to employees experiencing difficulties during organizational changes can be a help to you.