Forums

Is anyone familiar with The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act?  I was terminated on Jan 31st due to a workforce reduction and am receiving a separation package. In the agreement documents that I received (to sign back and return), there is reference to this Act, but not much detail about it.

It states that "In order to comply with The Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, Exhibit B is a list of job titles and ages of those employees selected...". Of course only my title and age is listed, not others, for confidentiality I assume.

But I am interested in my rights under this Act. I've just now started to research online and will certainly consult with an attorney to review the Agreement before I sign it, but thought I'd put this out here to get feedback.

Thanks in advance.

SHP's picture

I've been briefed on this Act, but am not a lawyer and am not offering legal advice.  You get what you pay for.

OWBPA protects 40+ year olds in the USA from being layed off in an improperly discriminatory fashion based on age.

If your company did not list anyone else, that means you were likely the only person impacted by the reduction in force.  As I understand the law, all RIF'd employees should appear on "exhibit B" to comply with the act.  No names, only titles and ages. 

I would expect to see ages roughly in proportion to the company's overall demographic (e.g. if half the population is 40+, then the RIF pool might reasonably be about half 40+).

Your situation might be worth a cursory review.  Unless you get reputable lawyers chomping at the bit to take your case, my advice to you is to invest your energy into updating your resume and finding new employment rather than fighting the past.

Good luck!

jl_herrera's picture

Thanks for your response. There are also quite a few errors that I've found on the Separation Agreement and I've sent back to my former employer for review. I am still waiting on an updated Agreement (for a month now) but I've also scheduled a consultation with an attorney next week to review the current Agreement and determine if I should just sign it and move on, or understand what my options are. 

I have been inclined to just sign it and get my severance package to be done with it, but I'd be signing a legally binding document which contains errors in it, and I don't feel comfortable with that. On the other hand, the employer's only update is that "the legal team is reviewing it & we don't know how long it will take to send you an updated agreement.". Feels like they're holding me hostage here or just trying to wear me out.

I'll come back here with an update after meeting with an attorney.

Breanna_Ileen's picture

Hello, don't you have any update yet?

jl_herrera's picture

OK so here is what I've learned after talking to an attorney. His advise was that the errors contained in the document we're not worth the fight. It would be more costly to fight them and they could always come back and claim it was a typo and provide a revised document (which they did).

As for the age discrimination issue, the attorney also said that after legal fees I would more than likely be out, so he advised to sign the contract and get my severance pay. I know for a fact that I'm not the only person affected by this reduction in workforce as I continue to maintain relationships with my former coleagues, and others are in the same boat. Several of them signed it without even noticing the errors until I asked them to check.

Lesson learned, take the money and run. Fortunately I was able to get a new job on March 16th, so I was really only out of work for the month of February.