Get laid off, file a lawsuit?


A recent trend is emerging with the growing number of people joining the ranks of the laid-off. As this recent AJC article illustrates, these newly laid-off are not going quietly into the recession. Instead, they are fighting back in a court of law. Some former employees are suing their employers, citing discrimination or being fired without the required advance warning.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, American workers filed more discrimination charges last year than at any other point in EEOC history. It appears that the rising trend in lawsuits will continue this year. In Georgia, EEOC filings are up for the year, with nearly half of the cases involving racial bias.

Experts cite the gloomy job market and the recession as reasons why employees that otherwise would have moved on and found other jobs are now considering litigation against their former employers.

Would you sue your employer if you were laid-off? How do you feel about those that are suing their former employers?

31 comments Add your comment

Today's Layoffs | Today's Layoffs

April 15th, 2009
7:19 am

[...] to come!!!!!More people who are being laid-off are now suing their former employers. Would you? blog post: Rhode Island Extends COBRA Subsidy To Laid-Off Small Business Employees [...]


April 15th, 2009
8:40 am

Depends on the circumstances


April 15th, 2009
8:43 am

Georgia is a right-to-work state, thus you can be fired, laid-off, terminated for any cause except discrimination against age, race, color,creed, national origin, etc. And the unemployment office will not help you if there is any sign of discrimination. If you suspect being fired due to prejudice reasons, contact the Atlanta Legal AID Society for starters.


April 15th, 2009
9:10 am

I think anyone should sue their employer if their is cause and it is based on any type of discrimination that is improper. Empoyers have the power to absolutely do whatever they want to employees they no longer want around – you can removed for your job pretty much for no reason and get nothing in return.

There is no loyalty out there, from employees or employers. The difference, usually, is that an employer who chooses to terminate an employee has the potential to cause allot of damage, much of it that could be avoided or lessened if the employer would just show some compassion.

I feel there should be more protections for employees when it comes to job loss, mainly to soften the blow. I think this should particularly apply to larger companies that have the resources to do so.

Regardless, anyone who think being fired of laid-off cannot happen to them, it can! Even if you do outstanding work, things can change – network throughout your career, do everything to keep your options open, because things can change at any time.


April 15th, 2009
9:13 am



April 15th, 2009
9:33 am

I got laid off in December 2008. Although I am still very angry, I don’t see the point in suing them. In all honesty, I don’t want my job back. I don’t think they have any money (or I wouldn’t have gotten laid off). I don’t want to end up with a mark against me with any future – and probably better – employers. I know there is a lot of age and other types of discrimination out there, and good reasons for people to sue. I just don’t think for me this is an option. I also have a husband and two kids and this is hard enough on everyone, without adding the stress of a lawsuit. Sometimes you have to know when to walk away. It is not being weak, it is being strong enough to put this in someone else’s hands and know that in the end, everyone gets what they deserve, good and bad.


April 15th, 2009
9:51 am

correct me if i’m wrong, but isn’t Georgia a “Work at will” state?
Meaning you can quit at any time, and they can lay you off at any time, and it doesn’t matter what the reason, that’s just the way it is.
Why waste more money suing? That isn’t going to solve anything.
Plus, as a benefit of actually working, if you are laid off, you can collect unemployment until you are employed again. Your paycheck pays into unemployment, so why not take advantage of it, if you are the unfortunate and do get laid off…..


April 15th, 2009
9:52 am

My husband was recently laid off after 20 years of devoted service. And I truly mean devoted service. Over the years this company has just gone down the toilet and employee loyalty means absolutely nothing to them any longer. While our family is hurting financially, his release from that company is really the best thing to happen to him, and us. There’s nothing worse than putting 100% of your heart, soul, and devotion into something you believe in just to get the heave-ho from management.


April 15th, 2009
10:00 am

Why would you sue the company that did not have enough money to keep you? Seems counterproductive. I would hope the company would stay in the black enough to pay 65% of my COBRA.


April 15th, 2009
10:15 am

Did you know that anyone can file a complaint against their employer if they feel they have been discriminated against whether they are currently employed or have been “let go” (fired or laid off). All you need to do is to file your complaint with the local district EEOC office. You can do it in person or by phone or by postal mail. The Atlanta district EEOC office is located where the former Rich’s Department Store was — across from the Five Points MARTA Station. Would suggest you hit the web site first and check out the Mediation process available that allows resolution without litigation or hiring attorneys to hear your charges against your employer. Also suggest you write and document what happened to you and your opinion for a satisfactory settlement to resolve your complaint.


April 15th, 2009
10:24 am

Work is highly overrated.

Real Deal

April 15th, 2009
10:45 am

A business is a financial risk taking enterprise to provide goods and services that consumers or customers will buy for more than they cost to provide. Individual owners and/or stockholders invest capital and take the risk. They must hire people and buy raw materials to produce the product or service. IF THEY CAN’T SELL ENOUGH PRODUCT THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO LAY OFF OR FIRE THE PEOPLE THEY PAY. IF THE PEOPLE THEY HIRE CAN’T DO THE WORK OR OFFEND CUSTOMERS WITH A BAD ATTITUDE, A BUSINESS ALSO HAS THE RIGHT TO FIRE THEM. THIS RACE CARD CRAP IS JUST DISGUSTING! TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOURSELF WHATEVER COLOR YOU ARE.


April 15th, 2009
10:53 am

You can sue for anything. “Feeling” discriminated against is not going anywhere though. There has to be actual discrimination not a feeling.


April 15th, 2009
11:29 am

You pay ALL your COBRA. That is, you pay the total amount of your insurance, rather than your employer paying a share. And employers pay into the unemployment tax, it is NOT take out of employees’ checks.

The Voice

April 15th, 2009
11:34 am

OK…..things didn’t go my way so I will grab the closest lawyer advertising on TV and sue. Sue somebody, anybody, anyone….just sue. Wow….the children of the Greatest Generation that won WWII surely can whine…..geeeez pull your self up and and get a job. Is whining and sueing what your parents taught you….I think not.


April 15th, 2009
11:36 am

What a sue-happy society. Getting fired or laid off and having that suddenly become a race issue is just another example of how people look to government to make them happy and pay them off. Funny how money makes everyone feel better who believes they’ve been wronged. Pay me and I’ll dop my charge. Work hard, be dependable, show your value everyday, take care of customers. Quit all this sue your employer nonsense. What a country. Give me $200k and I’ll go away. Nice…


April 15th, 2009
11:47 am

Really does depend on the circumstances.. I think there are some companies out there that are purposely reducing staff because of the presidential administration and perceived anti-business mindset. Though that would mean govt and business are both to blame. If I had not received a severance (as minimal as it was). I would consider legal action in large part of the pure incompetence of the owners. If an organization has financial problems, it should say so and how to fix the problem. If they just go on a whim and lay everybody off with no foresight or decision, then they are asking for trouble. I never took the anger way to a layoff, it’s “part of the process”.


April 15th, 2009
11:51 am

Filing a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) is not about race or suing someone — it is about equal rights. It includes gender, nationality, sexual, religious, age, disability as well as racial issues. It is about your equal right to fair employment and/or dismissal.
Your tax dollars pay for EEOC to accept your allegations of perceived discrimination and then to decide if you were actually a victim of discrimination. Look it up before you judge whether the could help you if you were treated unfairly. There is no fee unless you decide to hire your own attorney — which is not necessary to file an EEOC complaint. Filing a complaint is not filing a lawsuit!


April 15th, 2009
11:58 am

So what do you get when you run down to the EEOC and file these suits, FYIonEEOC?

There are a lot of misinformed people on this board, but I think the people filing these suits/complaints are also misinformed. A lot of people DO think they are going to get a monetary settlement of some kind. I think all you are going to get is your crappy job back. And most of the time, when people think long and hard about it, they don’t want the crappy job and would be better off spending their energies looking for a new one.

Believe me, I KNOW these employers are full of it and there is a lot of shady things going on. But filing a complaint or a lawsuit isn’t always the answer. Sometimes you have to move on with your life. It is stressful enough being unemployed.


April 15th, 2009
12:03 pm

It isn’t the guys who won WWII who are doing the whinning! They’re too old to be working or laid their 80’s!

Far too many companies are rewarding remaining employees for lying about the issues and resolutions!


April 15th, 2009
12:12 pm

Georgia is a right to work state period. Employers need no reason other then your services are no longer needed. Right now things are slow for a lot of companies and while last year they could overlook the fact that the employees were not fully working, they cant do that any longer. Thus the consolidation of jobs in the work forse. Means nothing other then they are cutting back in employee play and waisted time that they have paid for over the years.

As a self employed person might I as this question. How many of you are typing this while on your employers time? Thought so.


April 15th, 2009
12:13 pm

To answer HP, if one opts for a Mediation procedure at EEOC, what you “get” is an opportunity to listen and find out WHY you got in this job situation (unemplyment or harrassment) and have someone (employer or managment) listen to you while you tell your side of your job story. Sometimes that lessens the stress of being unemployed from no fault of your own. Sometimes that allows you a return to a better job or better accommodations at your former job. Not all people who file complaints hate their jobs and many would be glad to return under “certain” circumstances. Everyone’s job story is different. If you had a “crappy” job, then you were probably a “crappy” employee — don’t you think?


April 15th, 2009
12:35 pm

Layoffs are not as devastating to union employees because the company provides the needed assistance for employees to re-enter the workforce by providing the much needed financial assistance in furthering employees education and technical skills. In addition, most employees are paid following a layoff based on their years of service with the company. On average employees remain on payroll up to six months following a layoff…..during this period employees oftentimes find new jobs without experiencing a decrease in their household incomes….VOTE 4 UNIONS

Your Employer

April 15th, 2009
12:41 pm

I owe you a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. That is all. I do not exist to provide your healthcare benefits, or to match your 401k, or to babysit your kids. I compete with other employers to attract the best employees. Employees compete with other workers to get the best jobs. That’s how the free market works. If you sue me, I will fire you so fast your head will spin.

The Voice

April 15th, 2009
12:46 pm

Mary obviously you don’t know how to read. I said the children of the Greatest Generation…..idiot.


April 15th, 2009
1:05 pm

FYIonEEOC: Read “Your Employer’s” post. I don’t think that was a joke.

‘Nuff said.


April 15th, 2009
1:47 pm

A human resource — how degrading to a person.

The Voice

April 15th, 2009
3:36 pm

Hey Mary I bet you are unemployed….for lack of attention.


April 16th, 2009
6:58 pm

I’m currently unemployed. I worked for this company I really like and I started to noticed things that were out the norm like I was not getting the proper training like my coworker was getting and we performed the same duties. Well, I was rated high on my job performance. The next month I was fired. I was making in the 40’s so this was great for me. I went to the eeoc and filed a complaint. It did no good. EEOC is working for the major companies. It’s sad to say. With me being unemployed. I couldn’t hire a lawyer. Legal aid has not been helpful either. Did I hear anything back from EEOC? No. Georgia is a Right to work State–please read below

Since the 1940s, twenty two states (and Guam) have enacted Right to Work laws. They are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.

Whether or not you agree with Right to Work laws, and whether or not you want to live in a Right to Work state, it is important to recognize that the Right to Work laws are not to be confused with the concept of Employment At Will. According to J. Steven Niznik in his article entitled, Employment at Will, “The Employment at Will doctrine means that employment is voluntary for both employees and employers. As an at-will employee, you may quit your job whenever and for whatever reason you want, usually without consequence. In turn, at-will employers may terminate you whenever and for whatever reason they want, usually without consequence.” For more information about Employment at Will, be sure to read Mr. Niznik’s factual and comprehensive analysis.


May 6th, 2009
4:18 pm

I was laid off with no warning what so ever! Included in the offer of 1 month severance pay, for over 3 years of loyal service, was a very restrictive agreement stating that I would not “bad-mouth” the company nor try to sue them. I was forced to sign it or lose my home! You see, unemployment payments will not cover my bills. I had to have that severance to pay my bills while I search for new employment. It stinks! They deserve to be sued!

paul kavanagh

December 20th, 2009
3:44 am

i got laid off on friday they left a vioce message on my phone and think it is not proper how they have done what can i do