I was just hired at a company - my first day was Oct. 14th. I spent one week in training, then one week actually in the office. On Oct. 30th I was told my location was being closed. There would be a round of mass layoffs, and if I made it through that I would get an offer to start at a new location that is 1000 miles away.

I quit a successful consultancy I started to take this position. During negotiation, I was told I would be able to bring over several of my employees to the new company (I was hired to form and manage a new team). Obviously that is all off the table, and I've endangered several people's careers.

I'll probably get some sort of severance, but I'm wondering if its worth either arguing with HR that this position was misrepresented, or falsely advertised. (Why even have the position open at this location, if executives knew this was coming). Or even go the extra step to contact an employment lawyer.

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    What would you hope to gain by arguing or contacting a lawyer? Was there any stipulation in your contract that is being directly violated by what's happened? – dwizum Nov 1 '19 at 19:22
  • I'd hope for a bit more than a couple week severence while I start looking for new positions. Even if I'm not laid off, I'm not in a position where I can accept the relocation. – forcedrelocated Nov 1 '19 at 19:30
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    I would consult a lawyer just to see if you have a case. This seems shady, although perhaps not something you can win a judgment for. – dbeer Nov 1 '19 at 19:51
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    Find out what they're offering you as severance. They may actually offer you nothing since they're playing this game of forced relocation. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 1 '19 at 20:36
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    Even if there was a contract stipulation, if the business is starting to fail, you can't force a company to keep its location open. In order to prevent fraud on their part, you would have to prove that they knew the company was in trouble if they are a private company that will be tough. The burden to prove that would be on your part, they don't have to prove they knew it was going to fail, only that is has started to fail. – Donald Nov 2 '19 at 16:30

arguing with HR that this position was misrepresented

Remember, HR is there to look out for the interest of the company. It's in the company's best interest to close this location and lay people off. They will never admit anything was misrepresented.

I quit a successful consultancy I started to take this position.

Given the short time at this job, it's probably worth seeing if the consultancy can hire you back. Sometimes jobs don't work out. In fact, do this first.

Or even go the extra step to contact an employment lawyer.

I would consider talking to a lawyer, but about unemployment law. You want to walk out with the largest severance you can get. You may also get a larger severance if the company believes you'll bring them to court.

What I would do in your shoes

The person who cares the least has the most power.

You know you don't want this job, and you're not afraid of burning this bridge. I would first talk to a lawyer about exactly what you can and cannot do to ensure you're eligible for unemployment (I'm not a lawyer). Make sure you know how much any kind of legal proceedings would cost the company, even if you don't win.

Next talk to your boss. I'd be blunt and say something like

I can't hire anyone out of my professional network if we're relocating 1000 miles away, and I'm happy in this city and don't want to move. Can we talk about severance.*

The boss will probably say no and ask for your resignation. This is where you negotiate for a really great severance package. You want to walk in prepared. Be sure you know the number you want and negotiate towards that. This is where a nasty-gram from a lawyer might come in.

  • Normally I wouldn't be quite as blunt as this, but you have nothing to lose. You're probably already on the lay-off list as you're a manager with no team.
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    Do all of this, but start with contacting your old consultancy. It's only been a short time and assuming you didn't burn any bridges there and were a good solid performer, you might get lucky. You have nothing to lose by asking, but do it quickly. – Justin Nov 3 '19 at 8:30

Depending on the laws of your jurisdiction and possibly the laws the company is incorporated in, you might be eligible for monetary compensation.

The only way to know for sure is to consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction.

I am not a lawyer. However, as I understand this in general, you have to show you have been harmed in some way. Inconvenience is not harm. You have to show some sort of financial loss. That loss is would be covered by the severance package. If for some reason this layoff prevented you from finding another job, that could be considered harm. Again, you need to talk to a lawyer.

However, arguing with HR will not accomplish anything.

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    @JoeStrazzere thats why i specifically said it didnt. – Keltari Nov 2 '19 at 20:43

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