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Old 04-10-2010, 10:26 PM   #41
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I would be very certain about what you are doing before you start down that path as you would be forgoing a significant severance package and you would be sure that your opportunities would be limited at your current company.
Despite the ugliness of it all, they ARE giving you a VERY generous retirement package.

"The 600K is my lump sum retirement and my 401k is 150K, total 750K. The severance, if I signed my rights away would give me two years pay and free Insurance for 1 year, 5K for retraining and help with job placement. "

$600K is a lot of severance money.
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:56 AM   #42
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If this was a bulk layoff, wouldn't he have to prove that the majority of the layoffs were people of a certain age? If it is just himself at 55 and a bundle of other younger people not sure that age discrimination would stand. I know when we were doing our layoffs at the last company I worked for, you can be sure that it was all run by employment lawyers before any decisions were made to ensure that age discrimination charges could not be laid.

Demoting people from Managers to Team Leaders is quite common, my last company also did that when times got tough. You say they did not receive any reduction in salary, how do you know that?

Personally if I was you I would take the severance and run. How do you know that any of the people retained had worse performance reviews than you? You may be shocked to find out that even though yours was good, others were better.

You sound so bitter why do you want to continue working there? Maybe you should see this as an opportunity to move on and get a better life. Everything is not about money. Also you have to realize that the company is planning who will have a greater future 10 years down the track and for that reason someone in there 20s can offer more than you can at 55.

I would be very certain about what you are doing before you start down that path as you would be forgoing a significant severance package and you would be sure that your opportunities would be limited at your current company.
Let me start with the bitter part. I haven't been bitter up to the part I lost my job. Please understand that the company has been in a buy and cut mode since Warner Lambert company was bought. The people have been feeling the pressure of Forced Distribution, Bar has been raised (BS), etc for years and at least in my part of the company I know many people in various departments, groups, etc that feel the same as me about the company. It is not easy to walk away from a job just because you feel bitter/depressed about whats going and as you said (opportunity to move on and get a better life) remember no jobs or lack of jobs in my area for the skill sets I have. I can't move to another state or community for various reasons at this time, so I'm stuck until I re-invent myself. My Boss in all my 1 on 1 meetings about every two weeks always said and I quote: You are not going anywhere (referring to being lay-ed off) Seeing that I worked there for so many years I got to know many, many people. We generally shared our performance with each other etc. My performance is STELLAR and I repeat I can and always can out produce any worker in our group and I am not being bias by saying it. It can be proven by the tracking medics we have. I know Managers who were totally shocked at what had happen to them and seeing it was a demotion, and stated their pay will at least be the same. The excuse I was told the upper management used is to give the demoted or managers placed in positions where they have no experience is to give them more breath in the company. ( my thoughts is they know some will be pissed and leave on there own) I forgot to comment on number of layoffs. They are quietly doing them in small groups to circumvent the state rules of disclosure. They refuse to tell the media on what numbers are leaving. We were told in meetings early on that it was going to be like last years cuts 15% across the board which it was not.
Anyway I wrote on this bog to hopefully get some great ideas and info to make a better decision on my finance and possible discrimination case and it looks like I am 50/50 on the discrimination part and as far as what to do, and 100% on the finance. So thanks again everyone for you help and it is up to me in this next few weeks to make the right choices.
paraman
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:59 AM   #43
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Despite the ugliness of it all, they ARE giving you a VERY generous retirement package.

"The 600K is my lump sum retirement and my 401k is 150K, total 750K. The severance, if I signed my rights away would give me two years pay and free Insurance for 1 year, 5K for retraining and help with job placement. "

$600K is a lot of severance money.

Please note!!!
The 600,000 is my earned retirement for working over 30 years not severance. The 2 years pay is severance.
Thanks,
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:08 PM   #44
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Please note!!!
The 600,000 is my earned retirement for working over 30 years not severance. The 2 years pay is severance.
Thanks,
paraman
I understand - but I have worked at my company for 12 years and have about $30K in defined benefit (=earned retirement) so comparatively they were pretty generous. I'm sure you were counting on more (for working more years), but that's a generous defined benefit plan by today's standards. Very few companies pay much in defined benefit any more - the federal government is a notable exception and I'm not sure what they pay if you start there now.

The $600K means they were putting about $9K a year into retirement for you @ 5% interest. Assuming my calculator is working right.
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:45 PM   #45
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I understand - but I have worked at my company for 12 years and have about $30K in defined benefit (=earned retirement) so comparatively they were pretty generous. I'm sure you were counting on more (for working more years), but that's a generous defined benefit plan by today's standards. Very few companies pay much in defined benefit any more - the federal government is a notable exception and I'm not sure what they pay if you start there now.

The $600K means they were putting about $9K a year into retirement for you @ 5% interest. Assuming my calculator is working right.
The amount should of been more. In the last 5 years Pfizer decided to change the way it calculates its lump sum moving away from I believe Treasury Bonds for higher Corporate Bonds and phased it in 20% per year from one to another. That reduced everybody under the sun's retirement amount of money depending on years in the company and how close you are to retirement. It reduced mine about 200K and it is reducing as I write this. They want everyone to retire with the annuity versus lump sum. I do realize that I am better off then lots of people and will some how figure this all out, but I am still not happy how it was done.
Thanks again
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Old 04-11-2010, 05:59 PM   #46
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I have been in IT for 30 years. I have been laid off with a 'package' twice. In both cases, I found myself better situations within 6-8 months of the layoff. In addition, I have run into others that were laid off at the same time who after time, found better situations, and looked at the layoff as a positive experience.

You could very well look back at this in a year or two as being a really positive thing.
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:05 PM   #47
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Sorry to hear about your difficulties paraman. Your situation is not unlike the one that I found myself at your age. I took the time to reevaluate my situation and decided that things were not so bad after all. My family and I were healthy, I had a pretty good stash of cash, and I put w**k in perspective with life and decided that life was indeed good and the future was indeed bright.

I was indeed correct.
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Old 04-11-2010, 07:30 PM   #48
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Oh. And the manager who 'administered' my first layoff was let go about 1 year later with another round of downsizing. I was so sad when I heard that....
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Old 04-12-2010, 10:59 AM   #49
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Just in passing - your boss is SLIME!
I have not read every word posted, and there is clearly a lot we don't know, so let me just throw out this possibility:

Could it be that the boss was calling him 'off the record' to try to inform him of 'inside knowledge' that the severance plan was being cut, and maybe he should get out now with the good plan? Maybe his boss was trying to do him a favor? I don't know.

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Old 04-12-2010, 11:49 AM   #50
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I hope you get this resolved. Just because the boss was shady in communications doesn't mean the company is liable for anything and you did agree to be laid off, after all--but if I were you and not happy with the severance package I'd also get a lawyer, figure out what I want from the company, and go in and ask for that in lieu of bringing a lawsuit; maybe the company would be happy to just settle it. I don't think I'd want another job there as that could be eliminated within months without the severance package.

Two years of salary is an unbelievable package imho. Just to echo other people here, my DH left his company early too as a volunteer layoff and his life is so much better today. I hope the door that's opened for you works out for you too.
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Old 04-12-2010, 11:58 AM   #51
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It is my observation that the early severance packages are MUCH better than subsequent offerings.
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Old 04-12-2010, 04:47 PM   #52
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Thanks again for the great info everyone.
I like to add some info about the discrimination issue. My boss called me on my personnel cell phone which he had to get from one of my friends. He was asked why he didn't use the company phone to call me. ( I work in different building and my work number rings at both of my offices at the same time). He said he didn't want to use the company phone to my friend (co-worker). Please note! Incoming calls are taped at our company for security reasons since 1990. My boss called my cell phone (please understand he never ever has called me at home, my cell and really never even at work) and represented himself as being on the selection committee and asked me if I could retire with a package and be OK. Long story, short he used every trick to coerce me to say, put me on the list! He was saying things like our group may be going away and the severance package may be reduced. The final kicker was If you take a package they can save a younger employee. Please Note! I said put me on the list after much debate. Then he said he can't guarantee it. Well It happened and I was told my job was eliminated via a meeting with my Director and Look and Behold a younger Manager demoted was assigned to my Boss. I have Stella reviews and no issues ever and can perform everything for Method Development to Troubleshooting equipment and much, much more. I then told the Director of what was asked of me to do and that is when the stuff hit the fan. I ended up having to speak to the Department head and once I gave him all the info I had he ended up asking me if he found me a job , WOULD it Help!!! Looks like I have something to go with to the Lawyer. Next day He pretty much acted like my long lost friend and it was sickening. There is so much I didn't fill in but you can get the picture. I believe I have a case. I am looking at Lawyers right now and have until July 5 to sign my severance agreement if I do not pursue the case. Sorry for the long rant again, but my families quality of living is at stake here.
Thanks again and any help is really appreciated.
Paraman
this came up in another thread
my wife does some work in this area as an HR consultant

in general an employer cannot ask you to waive collecting unemployment in lieu of a severance, and there are "several" discrimination tests employers must do when performing layoffs (to make sure a protected class is not being targeted).

Consult an attorney.
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:22 PM   #53
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this came up in another thread
my wife does some work in this area as an HR consultant

in general an employer cannot ask you to waive collecting unemployment in lieu of a severance, and there are "several" discrimination tests employers must do when performing layoffs (to make sure a protected class is not being targeted).

Consult an attorney.
I can not believe for a moment that any company in this day and age, let alone a megacorp, would not have run their proposed layoffs thru this discrimination testing before they made any decisions. It seems to be standard practice.

Problem with taking legal action means you are always looking back. Personally I would embrace your situation as an opportunity to move forward and improve your life.
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Old 05-12-2010, 11:09 AM   #54
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Para,
I'm with FPL,36yrs & I'm 66 ,told by my boss, heard you are retiring this yr.!Go sometime this yr.you don't have a job next yr.I was planning to go anyway.I have a great "Financial Planner"I did my homework.I'll retire with $750,000 unless I get a PKG.I'm good to go.
As far as info you gave about "if"you have a case.....go get a Lawyer.Had a Super.who KEPT DAILY RECORDS of everything he did on a job.Co.tried to fire him,he went & presented his paperwork to a Lawyer.& asked,do I have a case?Lawyer looked at all of it & said.....Mr.*** I have just one question! May "I"be your Lawyer!! Mr.*** won his case AND kept his job(biut that's another story)!LOL!
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:26 PM   #55
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My warning period ends on July 5 and then I will start to collect unemployment. I am going to look for some sort of job after the summer.
In my state you must apply for at least 2 jobs per week while on unemployment. It will probably be about $375/week minimum 26 weeks, could be up to 99 weeks.

Does your spouse work?

Roll the lump sum to an IRA at Schwab, Fidelity, Vangaurd, etc.

Work on reducing expenses. cable, phones, other monthly non-essentials.

Check what programs are available for re-training. My job was out-sourced and Square-D HR did/would not give any details about these programs. I got a letter from the state about 2 weeks after I got another job. It already sounds like a sleazy situation.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:39 PM   #56
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I can not believe for a moment that any company in this day and age, let alone a megacorp, would not have run their proposed layoffs thru this discrimination testing before they made any decisions. It seems to be standard practice.
Square-D out-sourced the entire North American IT department to Keane in 2004. We were all told to sit at our desks at 5:00 pm the day before Thanksgiving. We were to receive an e-mail from Keane (Not our employeer) telling us who was let go and who stayed. I was let go and got a severance. No thank yous, see you, nice knowing you, nothing from Square-D. Turns out I was one of the lucky ones. The people kept by Keane were ALL let go 6-9 months later with no severance. Moral of the story: megacorp does not imply class, intelligence or ethics.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:41 PM   #57
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Turns out I was one of the lucky ones. The people kept by Keane were ALL let go 6-9 months later with no severance. Moral of the story: megacorp does not imply class, intelligence or ethics.
This seems to be another example of what is commonly believed: when a company issues several rounds of layoffs, the folks getting axed first usually get the best severance deals.
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Old 05-12-2010, 01:58 PM   #58
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The people kept by Keane were ALL let go 6-9 months later with no severance. Moral of the story: megacorp does not imply class, intelligence or ethics.
Small world. I saw the same thing happen over and over. Early bird gets the worm ( package );
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Old 05-12-2010, 05:09 PM   #59
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I would look very carefully at what the annuity is versus the 600K payout, to insure you are not shortchanging yourself. Additionally, is there a sliding scale so that your annuity payour would increase as years pass. Many plans I have seen and I do not know Pfizer's have a scale of 50% payout at 55 years old to 100% at 65 which is a seven percent annual increase in dollars received. 600K would seem to indicate a payout at 55 of around 55 - 60 K per year, the reduction in the cash payout was the result of dropping the US treasuries as the basis for cash value of an annuity, which was one of the biggest anti-employee pieces of legislation passed in recent years and does suck and saved big corporations millions.

I am just an accountant but having seen the expenses on many lawsuits for age discriminations on layoffs, a low percentage from S&P500 companies end up resolved in favor of the severed. In many cases the people selected for layoff are selected by legal criteria and not supervisors so that anything your supervisor told you may be ruled irrelevant, that is he actually was hoping to save a job not eliminate yours. When you get to court the emotional impact on you is not testimony. With Pfizer laying off 30,000+ jobs from 2005 -2012 they would not even argue about whether you were doing a good job.

I wish you well and hope whatever decision you make works out best for you.
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:13 PM   #60
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paraman, take your layoff as an opportunity to do all those things that you put off while you were working. You have a retirement and severance package that many would envy, so I recommend that you move forward and be optimistic.

As far as the money goes, I'd roll the retirement stuff over to a Vanguard IRA and put the severance in a combo of your bank account and a Vanguard account. You'll have to decide on an asset allocation, but don't go mad over the number of funds you use to get there, stick to Vanguard Total Bond Index, Total Stock Market, International and maybe throw in some Wellesley, Emerging Markets, TIPS etc if you want to be weighted in one direction or the other. Take a look at the various "Lazy Portfolios" out there.
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