Re: Layoff logistics and etiquette

Subject: Re: Layoff logistics and etiquette
From: Janice Gelb <janiceg -at- marvin -dot- eng -dot- sun -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 09:48:52 -0700 (PDT)

In article 9030207 -at- byrdwrites -dot- com, jbyrd -at- byrdwrites -dot- com (Jo Francis Byrd) writes:
>The idiots who ran Heartless R Us (the outfit that I spoke of earlier,
>the one that laid off a manager and he found out when he called the
>sysadmin to find out why his password wouldn't work) announced massive
>layoffs - I forget the percentage they said, but when you consider only
>about five people in upper management left (voluntarily or otherwise),
>it amounted to about half the work force. After the fact, they
>discovered the numbers of the layoff came under the provisions of the
>Warren Act - the one that covers plant closings. Meaning they had to
>give us 60 days notice. Of course, we learned of the coming layoffs
>weeks in advance, so you can imagine the morale level - and production
>level - of the employees.

Uh, that would be the WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining
Notification) Act, which says that you have to have 60 days
notice or payment in lieu of notice.

I became intimately familiar with it when my previous company,
Ashton-Tate, was bought by Borland. The process took over 2 months
because the SEC had to get involved because of anti-trust concerns.
I didn't particularly want to work for Borland both because it
would be a horrible commute and because I didn't like their CEO,
so I made sure that I wasn't on any "key employee" lists (going so
far as to call a former writer of ours who worked there and making
sure she didn't do me any favors by making sure I kept my job!).

It was a very weird time because most people were searching
for jobs while still working at A-T, and all of us got the
scoop on who was hiring, what places seemed good to work
for, etc. I got an offer from Sun but couldn't quit because
I'd have lost my severance after 5 years of work. Towards
the end of the two-month period, Sun was getting antsy and
I was worried that I'd lose the job. Then, I got a call
from my boss one morning: "Congratulations, you've been
laid off!" A-T had realized that if the deal didn't go
through, their stock price would plummet so they decided
to lay off anyone not working on their core product (dBASE).

Anyway, two weeks later the deal went through, and a friend
called me to tell me the good news; the bad news was that
Borland was paying WARN Act money to those who had been left,
but not to the people who had been laid off just previously.
Luckily for my budget, others in the layoff brought a lawyer
in to point out that the layoff would never have happened if
not for the imminent buyout, and that Borland had reviewed
the layoff list to make sure no key employees were on it,
so we all got the WARN Act money after all.

Janice Gelb | The only connection Sun has with
janice -dot- gelb -at- eng -dot- sun -dot- com | this message is the return address.

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