Layoffs: 6 Things Massachusetts Employees Need To Know

Image of a person wearing a black suit holding a cardboard box with a white desk lamp showing from the top of the box and a "pink slip" in their hand.

Layoffs in Massachusetts are more common recently due to increased financial turmoil and economic uncertainty. So here are 6 things to know if you are laid off:

1. Are you protected by the WARN Act?

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act generally requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide employees with at least 60 days advance notice of a mass layoff. If your employer violates your WARN Act rights, you may be entitled to lost wages and benefits. 

2. Did you receive your final pay?

Massachusetts employers laying off employees are generally required to pay an employee their final wages on the date of termination. If your employer fails to pay you your final wages you may have a wage and hour claim

3. Did you receive your vacation pay?

If your employer provides you accrued paid vacation then your employer generally has to pay you all of your accrued, but unused, vacation as of the date of your termination. Similarly, if your employer fails to pay you your accrued vacation, you may have a wage and hour claim. 

4. Did your employer discriminate against you by selecting you for a layoff?

It is unlawful for your employer to lay you off due to your sex, gender, race, color, age, handicap, disability, and other protected categories. If your employer lays you off due to your protected class, you may have a claim for discrimination. Massachusetts has a very short statute of limitations for claims of discrimination. Contact the Maura Greene Law Group as soon as possible if your employer discriminated against you. We can help you understand your potential rights and claims. 

5. Is your employer obligated to provide you with more benefits under any contracts?

Many employees have contracts that may affect their rights if they are laid off or separated without cause. Contact our office if you have any questions regarding your employment contracts.

6. Are you entitled to severance? 

Finally, you may be entitled to severance payments if you have an employment contract, your employer has a severance plan or your employer historically provides employees severance payments. Contact our office if your employer offers you a severance agreement or if you think your employer should provide you with a severance agreement. 

Bottom Line:

Contact the Maura Greene Law Group if you are laid off. We can help you understand your rights and options.

Contact us at 617-936-1580 or email us at [email protected] 

The Not-So-Fine Print:

We see patterns in our practice, like the ones described above. However, every case has its own unique facts. Before you take any action, you should contact an employment lawyer and get advice on your own situation. We can’t provide legal advice here and this isn’t intended as legal advice. It is best, if possible, to establish a relationship with an attorney before a workplace issue turns into a crisis. Employees who have received a verbal or written warning or performance improvement plan should contact counsel now. Ditto for employees who are seeing their doctor for workplace-related stress or anxiety.