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Laid-off Lockheed Martin workers may be due big severance checks

Our Texas readers might have read about the layoffs planned by Lockheed Martin that were announced back in November. Several plants are going to be closed, including one in Horizon City, Texas. The company, the largest defense contractor in the world, announced this week that it will pay about $175 million in severance to employees who are losing their jobs as a result.

Texas employers aren't legally required to make severance payments; however, as a courtesy, they frequently do so anyway. It is incumbent upon employees who receive the payments to understand the terms under which they are accepting them. Workers may not realize that they might be forfeiting their right to take legal action against their employers in the future if they accept a severance offer.

It's crucial for people who are put in this position to take a long, hard look at their situation to determine if it is the right course of action. Workers who are in a protected class -- such as one defined by a disability, age or ethnicity -- might consider negotiating for more favorable terms. Some clients have found that they might be offered a better severance package by doing so. In other cases, people who are losing their jobs might be content to take the offer they are initially presented with.

In any case, it may be advisable to consider the advice of a Texas employment law attorney. While individual employees might not have lost their jobs before, an experienced employment lawyer may have worked on many cases from which to draw.

Source: The Post-Standard, "Lockheed Martin expects $175 million in severance costs as it sheds 4,000 jobs," Mark Weiner, Jan. 7, 2014

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