I Just Got Laid Off. Why Did I Get a List of All My Co-Workers’ Titles and Ages?

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.

Image by Susan Sewert from Pixabay

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7 thoughts on “I Just Got Laid Off. Why Did I Get a List of All My Co-Workers’ Titles and Ages?

  1. My husband did not receive this during his layoff. If he already signed his severance and received his severance package, is it too late to ask for this and file a lawsuit if there is age discrimination? From what it looks like, in general they fired all the highest paid person from each team which would be the people who are also older.

  2. It may be worth talking with an employment attorney. However, if they fired the highest paid person from each team, each team might be considered a different group under OWBPA and, therefore, each was a single termination.

    That’s probably stretching it though. If he received a fair severance package, I’d probably walk away. But if you feel like it wasn’t, it may be worth the money to consult an attorney.

    http://www.nela.org can help you find one.

    1. I think his severance was fair and he’s happy to leave that toxic environment so we’ll get go with it.

  3. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was reading some of the HR manuals in the company library. I found three that said that HR needs to understand that people over 40 have hearing problems, struggle to learn new skills, and they’re tired and often not as productive as young people. So it’s important to manage the workforce so as to keep the staff’s average age below 40. or in a tech field, 35. And I realized that if HR managed that, and each tech staff member stuck to a retirement plan of working until 65, they’d have to bring in kindergartners as new hires.

    1. How old were the books? That is just really amazing and I can only imagine that any company that followed that procedure would be opening up themselves for a lawsuit!

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