5 Reasons Why Layoffs Should Be a Surprise

by Evil HR Lady on February 20, 2014

Now for a topic I’m sure I’ll get angry letters about: layoffs.

There are two rules to a proper layoff: It should be kept secret, and it should include severance.

It sounds mean spirited and a lot of people will disagree with me. They’d say, let employees know as soon as you do so they’ll have time to prepare. I accept that as a valid strategy, and I will say, you should do that if you’re not going to offer severance. The law does not require severance except in a few specialized situations–like a contract, or when you’re laying off a substantial number of employees. Consult your employment attorney.

To keep reading, click here: 5 Reasons Why Layoffs Should Be a Surprise

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous February 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I generally agree, though I would suggest that a short notice period (not more than 2 weeks) can help everyone transition, say good-bye, etc. We did this with our last layoff, and both remaining staff and affected staff appreciated it, though I think one week would have been enough.


Vicki February 22, 2014 at 6:16 am

Say goodbye??

At the companies where I’ve worked, people who are laid off are sent out a back door. No one is even told they’re gone. People find out when the email bounces or the hone is disconnected.


Evil HR Lady February 22, 2014 at 9:04 am

That shouldn’t be done either. People who were good enough to work for you yesterday are good enough to say goodbye to their coworkers.


Charles February 21, 2014 at 6:17 am

A lot depends on the culture of the workplace.

One place that I was laid off from gave those of us being laid off “30 days notice.” Actually, we were free to leave that day, but, also free to use the office resources such as printers, faxes, email, phones, etc., to help with a job search for 30 days. This, of course, was with the understanding that we wouldn’t interfere with business. Many left that day; but some (myself included) stayed on to help co-workers transition to taking over our duties.

Of course, this all worked because of a VERY generous severance package (2 weeks plus an additional 2 weeks severance for every year of service to a max payout of 6 months). Without that severance most would have left that day with no sense of “duty” to help others left behind.

Compare that to another company in which those of us being laid off, while we were in the lay-off meeting, had our network, building and time card, email, etc. access disabled. My boss had an argument with the IT folks so that I could get into the network to give him the files that I was working on and another argument with HR to restore my building and timecard access so that I could punch out for the day. Just what did they think I was going to do? Steal files that I was working on? Punch out late to claim overtime? Idiots! And, of course, no severance.

The first company had a very smooth transition, the second company, not so much. The first company, while we were sad to go we understood it was just business, the second company those left behind hated working there and kind of wished they were leaving.


SS February 21, 2014 at 4:00 pm

If you are conducting lay offs then you need to consult the federal WARN Act and any relevant state law corollaries. You may be required to give employees 30 days’ advance notice in the event of a plant closing or mass layoff.


Guido February 23, 2014 at 2:30 pm

This is why I don’t give employers notice anymore when I quit. I just call super early that day and leave a voice mail on my boss’s phone.

It gives my employer a clean break so they can move on quickly. I think it’s the kindest way.


hardwood flooring May 9, 2014 at 8:16 pm

It’s very straightforward to find out any matter on web
as compared to books, as I found this piece of writing at this site.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: