Layoff Lawyers for Employees
Sometimes, people believe a “layoff” is an expression for downsizing, or losing a job or being terminated without cause. However, a “layoff” is actually a legal term meaning a temporary stoppage of work. If you have been let go (not laid off), you have probably been wrongfully dismissed, and that’s the correct term you were looking for.
What is Layoff?
It is only a temporary “layoff” if an employer gives less than half the amount of ordinary work in a workweek to an employee for less than 13 weeks in the last 20 weeks, or 35 in certain circumstances. In this case, an employee cannot yet consider themselves terminated and seek termination pay or severance or sue for wrongful dismissal.
However, if an employer hasn’t given an employee any work (or less than half of a usual work week) for over 13 weeks, the employee has been terminated and must be provided notice or termination pay in lieu. If the termination pay provided is inadequate, then the employee should sue for wrongful dismissal.
Note, however, that in most employment contracts, layoffs are not permitted, and any pay less than a usual work week, even just once, could be considered a “constructive dismissal“. In other words, absent a clause in the employment contract permitting a layoff, an employee can treat a temporary layoff as a termination, and seek termination pay in lieu of notice.