“Two Jobs Combined into One: Is that Legal?”

Question: I am a Product Manager for an insurance company covering homeowners’ policies. I was recently laid off, and given two weeks pay as severance. Soon after that, another Product Manager, who covered automobile policies, was also laid off, and he was given four weeks pay as severance.

Soon after that, a new job appeared on the company’s website; there is no question: it is both of our jobs combined into one. We have both signed severance agreements, releasing all of our claims against the company. Do we have any rights?

SueAnne, from San Diego, CA
(All names are changed)

Answer: In general, there is nothing illegal about a company combining two jobs into one. In fact, from a business point of view, it would seem like a good idea, provided one person could do both at the same time. If the combination was “business-motivated,” it does not seem illegal, in any way.

I do wonder why the new, combined job was not offered to you, or your colleague. However, as the lawyers’ saying goes, “Wondering may be wonderful, but not a reason to sue.”

Best, Al Sklover

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