Reduction in force? Make sure severance packages are equitable for similar employees

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in Compensation and Benefits,Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Here’s something to keep in mind if you’re contemplating a reduction in force: If you plan to offer severance packages in exchange for a liability release, make sure you aren’t too selective about who gets the best deals.

Why? Being denied a severance package—or even getting one that’s less generous than others receive—can be an adverse employment action. And that can trigger a lawsuit.

Solution: Before approving severance offers, make sure all similarly situated employees are in line for substantially similar packages.

Recent case: Karla Gerner worked for the Chesterfield County government for 25 years. She was the county’s director of HR management and received uniformly positive performance reviews.

Then the county underwent a re­­­organization, and Gerner learned she would be among those to lose their jobs. The county offered her three months’ pay, plus continuing health insurance coverage, in exchange for waiving her ri...(register to read more)

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