“If I resigned effective January 31, but was then laid off on January 11, do I have any legal options?”

Question: At the beginning of December, I submitted a resignation to be effective January 31. I was then “laid off” effective January 11. Do I have any legal options?

Beaumont, Texas

Answer: That depends on what you mean by “options.”

You do not have any “option” to sue your employer for choosing to end your employment relation before you wanted to end it; that is the employer’s right. Just as, if your employer gave you three months’ notice of layoff, and if you left earlier than the three months.

Because of your “layoff,” however, you probably do have an “option” to collect unemployment insurance benefits if you wish to.

If you employer has a severance plan or policy, this gives you the “option” to request payment of severance.

You also now do have an “option” to contest the reason(s) for the layoff – that is, to raise an issue that it was discriminatory, or retaliatory, or perhaps in violation of assurances that you could remain with the company until January 31. Each of those would constitute a legal claim.

Lastly, you do also have an “option” of requesting of your boss, the CEO, or the Board of Directors, directly, that they honor your original resignation date, as it seems to have been made with a sense of fair play and honest regard for the employer’s interests. This last “option” is one most often forgotten, but more effective than most believe.

Hope this helps.

Best, Al Sklover

© 2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.