I was all set to post a blog on another topic when I received a call from a woman I’ll call Kelly, who had been laid off from her middle management position of 17 years.
Since she’d been out of the job market for well over a decade, Kelly was looking for a career counselor to help her with her transition to new work.
When I asked if she was eligible for outplacement services, she said she had no idea, as she was not familiar with the term.
I explained that when someone in good standing with a company or organization is laid off, it is sometimes possible to receive paid sessions with a career counselor as part of a severance/separation agreement. Many employers recognize that this assistance creates good will and gives the employee a new focus and direction after a difficult ending.
However, it’s not likely that Kelly will receive this benefit since she had already signed an agreement giving her approval of the terms of her separation.
In my conversations with human resource professionals who manage layoffs, I’ve been pleased to hear that many advise employees to seek legal counsel to review the terms of the separation agreement. This is wise and a good practice on everyone’s part.
Given her position in the organization and years of service, Kelly may have been advised to request outplacement services as part of her agreement—before she signed off on it. But now, payment for these services will come out of her pocket rather than her former employer’s.
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