“My company is being sold. Should I stay on and work for the purchasing company, or take my severance and go?”

Question: I’m being laid off because a new company is taking over, but at the same time I am being asked to work for the new company.

This is what HR is telling us: If we want to work for the new company, we need to resign our present employment. HR is also telling us that, after we resign from our present employment, if we do not like the employment contract the new company gives to us, we can always get severance from the old company.

If I do accept the new company’s job, and sign their employment contract, I’m not sure if I will get any severance.

If I don’t accept the new company’s job, I’m not sure I will get my full severance, or even unemployment insurance benefits.

What do you think I should do?

Toronto, Canada

Answer: Nothing whatsoever, until you get all of your questions answered, with clarity and certainty, and IN WRITING.

I have seen your situation many times before: you are concerned that, no matter which choice you take, you will end up without anything in the end. What some people call “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.”

The answer to your question is not something I can offer you, because only your employer can. You need to address your very important questions to your company’s Human Resources IN WRITING – preferably in an email – and request responses to your questions IN WRITING, as well. Read what you get back very carefully, with the following questions foremost in your mind: Are Human Resources’ responses absolutely clear? Can these responses be misinterpreted, or mischaracterized? Is there any way I can lose both severance from my old employer, and a new job with my new one?

Be inquisitive. Be skeptical. Be persistent. Don’t accept a hazy answer. Don’t do anything until and unless you know with confidence the ramifications of your decisions. It is even possible the two companies have not decided how all this will work You must carefully “look before you leap” in this context, more than most contexts.

My best to you, and your colleagues, in this situation. I’d love to hear back from you with what you learned by going forward in this way.

Al Sklover

P.S.: If you would like additional attention and assistance with your workplace opportunity or problem, and how to best deal with it, I am available for 30-minute, 60-minute, or 120-minute telephone consultations. If you would like a consultation, just [click here.]     

Alan Sklover’s Timeless Classic, Newly Updated and Revised

Fired, Downsized, or Laid Off:

What Your Employer Does NOT Want You to Know
About How to FIGHT BACK

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© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.