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Top Laws that Protect You When You’ve Been Laid Off

There’s a great deal of stress that comes with losing a job. If you were recently laid off, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to pay bills or how you’re going to get insurance for your family, among other things. However, you may have some protections in place that will help you have a little less to worry about after a layoff.

Employment Protection You Need

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) If you’ve been laid off, one of your concerns is probably what you’ll do for healthcare, particularly if you or your family have ongoing medical needs. COBRA gives you the option to continue your existing medical coverage (and your dependents’) under your employer’s plan (at your cost).

Your employer must notify you in writing of the option to elect continuation coverage at the time of a qualifying event (such as termination or a reduction of hours) or notice that you are not entitled to continuation coverage Generally, the general notice must be provided within 90 days after coverage begins. You have to take affirmative steps to elect coverage. If you do not receive the required notices under COBRA, the plan administrator may be liable to you for damages.


Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) If you are laid off, this law gives you the ability to enroll in another plan without waiting for the usual open-enrollment season, such as adding yourself to your spouse’s company-sponsored plan.

Losing your job is also an event of special eligibility for enrollment through the Healthcare Marketplace if you want to purchase your own health care coverage. Depending on your income, you may be eligible for a government subsidy on a portion of your premiums.


Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN Act) Generally requires large employers (of 100 or more employees, not counting employees who have worked less than 6 months in the past 12 and not counting employees who work an average of less than 20 hours a week) to give 60 days notice for covered mass-layoffs or plant/factory closings. Warning must be given to salaried and hourly employees, managers and subordinates.


Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) This act was designed to protect people from age discrimination in the workplace. The act provides that an employer cannot discriminate against any individual with respect to the terms and conditions of employment, deprive the individual of employment opportunities, or retaliate against an employee for complaining about violations of the ADEA. The act protects employees 40 years of age or older.The act covers advertisements for open positions, the application process, and interviews.

Companies can not discriminate against employees over 40 when reducing their workforce nor can they force employees to take early retirement. If you believe your termination was due to age discrimination, contact an attorney today to discuss your case.


Anti-Discrimination Laws In addition to age, there are several protected classes of employees. While these employees can still be let go, they cannot be let go for the reason they are protected, nor can they be let go at a higher rate than other employees, or singled out for layoffs.


These protected classes include, but not limited to:

  • Sex and gender
  • Pregnancy
  • Religion
  • Sexual harassment
  • Whistleblowers
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Disability

Discrimination can be a tricky topic, so if you’re thinking there’s a possibility your layoff is directly related to employment discrimination, you owe it to yourself to investigate and contact a professional who understands employment law.

If you’ve recently been laid off, know that there are laws designed to protect you and your dependents. If you think you’ve been discriminated against, contact the professional employment attorneys at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, P.A..

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