Losing a job, whether you're fired or “laid off” is often devastating to many people. In fact, it’s especially hard on workers today who are often paid such low wages that they can't possibly have any savings set aside. Furthermore, jobs are still hard to come by, even if this reality isn’t receiving all of the headline coverage it did a few years ago.                                                

When you’re living from “paycheck to paycheck” and you’re laid off -- you’re very survival (and that of your family) is often at stake, especially when you may not be eligible for any unemployment benefits. Because of these harsh realities, it’s important for workers to make sure that their legal rights are fully respected during the layoff process.

Fortunately, there are a few laws designed to help protect workers’ rights during a layoff. If you’ll take the time to review these laws now, you’ll be in a much better position in the future to determine whether any employer has violated any of your rights. If that should occur, you may need to file a lawsuit to fully protect your rights and obtain any damages owed to you.

Laws Designed to Protect Laid-off Workers

It’s difficult for many workers to assert any real bargaining power with their employers since so many are only hired on an “at will” basis. That term basically means that workers can be legally fired at any time without the employer providing any real explanation. However, there are a few laws on the books that serve to protect workers.

  1. General antidiscrimination laws. These prohibit treating workers unfairly based upon their race/ethnicity, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability or other similar grounds. Of course, it can still prove very challenging for any employee to actually prove this type of behavior has been committed against him/her;

  2. The amended Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). This law seeks to protect people whose employers have discriminated against them because they suffer from one or more serious disabilities. If you believe your employer has violated your rights under the ADA, contact your Peachtree City business attorney right away. He can provide you with further advice about whether or not you need to file a lawsuit due to this illegal behavior;

  3. Age Discrimination. Unfortunately, when so many workers are willing to accept minimum wage, some employers become eager to dismiss their older workers who still receive fairly high wages and have strong employee benefit packages.  Both the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act have been passed to try and protect older workers from being wrongfully “laid-off” – or denied benefits they’ve earned from an employer who is still fully or partially solvent. 


Whatever you do, don't just become depressed and fail to seriously review all aspects of your “lay-off.” Workers must look out for themselves in a proactive manner since steady jobs are much harder to find these days.

To obtain help with handling all of your Georgia business planning needs, please contact Shane Smith Law today.  You can schedule your free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Peachtree City estate planning attorney by calling: (770) 487-8999.

Shane Smith
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