2 months ago my boss told me, even though I had did nothing wrong he was replacing my with an accountant, b/c he remarked my job had outgrown me. At that time he said he was giving me until the end of May to find another job. He also gave the board of directors the same time frame about my job. Now here is the question. It was not in writing buy verbal but all knew it. He came in this week and said he had hired a new person and I was done, I could go home for the rest of the week and that was that. Can I make them give me severance pay for the rest of the time 2 months. Is the verbal agreement binding?
1 Answer from Attorneys
I am sorry to hear that you lost your job in this rough economy.
As you may know, At Will employment is the default arrangement. That is the employer can terminate employment without more than a moments notice, as long as they do not do so for reasons that are prohibited by the several State Statutes or Federal regulations that cover workplace discrimination. At Will also means that an employee is not required to give notice when they quit, although it may be a common custom.
Just as employees and employers are free to terminate the work relationship, they can contract to curtail such freedom. Your question is did the statements made by your boss, curtail your employer's freedom to terminate your employment at will, without liability to you. A definite answer is almost never possible with just general information. Under the facts you described, you seem to be eligible for unemployment compensation at the least.
There are many attributes to bringing successful wrongful termination or contractual severance obligation cases. They require much more information. I strongly suggest that you refuse to sign any documents presented to you by anyone connected with your employer, refrain from discussing the situation with any lay person, and consult directly with an employment law attorney as soon as possible.
Many Kansas employment lawyers offer a free or low cost initial consultation. Gather your documents and contact one. You were wise to seek general information here. Be Smart by getting advice specific to the facts of your particular situation. You may be able to enforce the timeline that you think was just verbal , but may be in the minutes of a meeting somewhere. You may have an action based upon the replacement, despite the notice. Even if the attorney determines that you are probably only entitled to unemployment compensation benefits, they might still be able to negotiate a severance package for you. Many employers don't want to risk having a court or administrative Board determine that other claims are available to you.
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