I was told this week my position is to be transitioned to Poland and part of my severance agreement is that I need to train my replacement (I’m an international/global benefits manager with more than 12 years of experience); anyway, I received my severance package along with a list of the job titles and ages of all people that are either being let go or retained? Obviously, I know who all the people are just by looking at the age and job title, and my question is, why would a company send a list of everyone who is part of a workforce reduction? The list went to all employees who were let go and obviously, we all talking to each other.
With just this information I know that you are over 40.
“Wow!” you might say, “However did you come to that conclusion?”
It’s easy because what you’ve just received is a disclosure, which is required by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (OWBPA) which amended the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA).
Fortunately, just yesterday, Employment Attorney Eric Meyer gave us this description:
When your business provides an exit incentive for a group of workers or other termination program offered to a group of employees, the ADEA/OWBPA requires a knowing and voluntary waiver to get a full release of age discrimination claims. Among other things, the employer must provide the employees with the following information, in writing and plain, easy-to-understand English:
any class, unit, or group of individuals covered by such program, any eligibility factors for such program, and any time limits applicable to such program; and
the job titles and ages of all individuals eligible or selected for the program, and the ages of all individuals in the same job classification or organizational unit who are not eligible or selected for the program.
This means, in a termination like yours, everyone who is over 40 (the definition of “older worker”) has to receive this information. The company, undoubtedly, would prefer not to hand this over, but it’s the law.
And it’s a good double check on the employer to make sure they aren’t discriminating on the basis of age. As for discussing it amongst your coworkers, well that’s protected under the National Labor Relations Act as a concerted activity. So, good for you for discussing it!
So, even though it looks weird, this disclosure form is a legal requirement for a group termination with severance.