I worked for a very large company that just had a layoff. As required by law, they provided me with the titles and ages of the people laid off in my group. What is suspicious is that they listed 8 people, yet my group only consisted of 8 people, all under 44, and none were laid off except me (age 66). They were all absorbed into other parts of the organization except me.
They want me to sign a severance package stating that I will not contest this severance under any labor law (Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the ADA, the ERISA, the FMLA, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act (“OWBPA”), the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”), the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (“WARN”) Act, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (“COBRA”), and the Occupational Safety and Health Act.)
For those fighting a state agency good luck but remember the managers hold all the cards and control the table. They are good at covering themselves so if you fight expect dirty tricks like emails/records going missing or getting corrupted! I was 9 months from retirement with a state agency when I got the ax. They kept someone 1/3 my age without the experience to do the job. Large corporations are similar but they have to me a lot more careful. The bank I work for now is doing a merger and management refuses to announce who they are keeping post merger and who will be out of a job. Their words are "We haven't discussed personnel at this time and due to the virus are too busy with other aspects of the merger to take the time." Middle managers with strong connections (family/friends) in upper management have already been told (back in May) their new job titles and that they are staying. Those of us that don't have those connections keep getting told we will get to it later. They were supposed to release the letters last May when the formal announcement of the merger was announced. Then we were told fall, then before August, and now back to fall. I have talked to someone that did Billion dollar mergers for a New York company and was told they are just blowing you off. Personnel is the first thing discussed during mergers of this size due to the money involved. At the age of 65 and still holding on the the hope of making it to 66+ before being forced into Social Security.
For the person being forced to hand the company a get out of free card talk to an Labor Attorney before signing anything or push this to the Fed's as a civil rights charge since they are trying to deny you legal recourse and/or your severance pay. I would go with the attorney because they might help you more. Fed's seem to want to side with big companies so they can get big pay working for them later!
The State agency I work for keeps taking job tasks away from three of us that are over the age of 60 and giving the tasks to younger employees. There have been no complaints about our job performance. We feel that they are trying to force us out, either by making us unhappy enough to quit/retire or by saying that they no longer need us. Is there anything we can do? Thank you, in advance.
I would consult with a labor attorney if I was you. It would appear to me, also facing a layoff and not an attorney, that they are putting those conditions on your severance because they know they are in violation and trying to protect themselves. Like the first person in this conversation I too am in IT and we have been told that the company that we are merging with is in need of IT staff BUT they have also told us that major sections of our IT group will have to change jobs and maybe where they live. They outsource a lot of what is done so the only ones they really want to keep, at least from what they have told us, is the younger staffers those that only work Desktop Support and those of us that are older and more advanced in our careers are looking at being let go or forced to take major cuts in pay/position. At least 3 staffers that I know of all of us older have been told that our jobs will be gone 2 because the job is outsourced and one because it would be a duplicate of one that is already filled.
That disclaimer clause in your severance rang a bell with me. I was "handed the mitten" last May (at age 61), and presented with the same onerous "option." I declined to agree and am in suit with them now.
In my case, there is a clearer pattern of age AND disability discrimination; they laid off 5 people (of 40 employees); 4 over the age of 58, 3 of whom were also disabled and/or had disabled dependents. Unfortunately, the federal enforcement seems to have few teeth. I was in technology, which also has tremendous power as a group. BUT, I think we're both (you and I) in a better position than those trying to prove age bias in hiring, since we've been laid off for these reasons.
Beware, though, current tax law - as I understand it - does NOT appear to favor a win on your part. If you do win, I'm pretty sure they tax the settlement as income. (Although the lawyer's fees might be excluded from the total.)