Is there a ‘cooling off’ period for layoffs?

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

Q. Is there a law that says we must abide by a 45-day waiting period between the time employees are told they’ll be laid off until they receive the severance payment? My supervisor said it’s called a cooling-off period. Is this a federal law?

A. The supervisor is confused. It depends on the age of the employees. The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act says that for a release of age discrimination claims (involving employees age 40 or older) to be enforceable in a group termination, an employee must be given 45 days to review the release.

After signing, the employee has seven days to revoke his or her acceptance, and the release will not be effective until that seven-day period expires.

A group termination occurs when two or more employees are terminated as part of the same “program,” such as a reduction in force.


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