Question: The company I work for has announced it is closing the division I work for. If I accept another job for a different company before the closure is complete, are they still required to give me my severance package, or do I sacrifice any package they offer after I leave?
Fall River, Massachusetts
Answer: Alicia, it is almost always the case that if you are not still working for your present employer on the very day the division is closed, then you won’t be entitled to any severance. That is because almost all severance plans or programs say that only employees still working for the division on the day the jobs are lost are entitled to severance; any who leave before that are not eligible for severance.
However, your company’s severance plan or program may be one of the very, very few that say that you would be eligible even though you left before the day your job was eliminated. For this reason, it is crucial you ask your company’s Human Resources Department for a copy of the Company Severance Plan or Program, and read it carefully yourself.
You might ask Human Resources for both (a) the answer to your question, and (b) to show you the applicable language in the Severance Plan. If you are either reluctant to tell Human Resources that you might have another job, then you might ask an attorney to read the Severance Plan for you.
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Best, Al Sklover
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