A month ago our company, in Canada, officially became acquired by another company. My previous company had at the time filed for bankruptcy protection.

The day we were told the official news that the deal was going through, 1/2 of our employees got laid off - maybe more. The rest of us are still here, busy as ever as we migrate over to the new system.

None of us have been given new job packages under the new company. Someone, outside of the company, told me this may be because they will do another lay-off, and not having a new job package means they are free from any legal severance package (since our old company was under bankruptcy protection).

Is the fact that we have not been given new job packages an indicator that we are likely to be laid off as well?

Is there any action that I can take to help improve my chances of being retained?

UPDATE: We are still being paid by the old company (ex-owners are getting reimbursed by new company).

  • thank you for helping me edit - i'm new here. :) i just added information at bottom regarding our payroll. – jake Apr 9 '14 at 18:32
  • 2
    @DJClayworth, thanks for the great edit! I've reopened the question as I think it is quite clear now. Thanks for the effort, it really is appreciated. – jmac Apr 10 '14 at 7:54
  • There's a very close question with a very similar focus, I'm worried that these are close enough to be duplicates, since "what to do?" is a much easier thing to answer than "will they keep me?": workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/13767/… – bethlakshmi Apr 10 '14 at 15:19

They kept you, even though they didn't keep everybody.

So, ask your boss or an executive what the mission of the newly-acquired company is to be for the next year and a half or so. Then ask "how can I help achieve the mission?"

They definitely have a mission; companies don't spend money on acquisitions without at least some idea of what they're trying to accomplish.

Listen carefully to the answer you hear. If the boss says "gain market share" or "maintain satisfaction with the acquired company's base of customers," or some other forward-looking mission, that's good. It presents you with an opportunity to do good things for them.

If the mission is "continue to build profitability by reducing costs," it may be resume time for you.

The question "how can I help?" is always positive, even if they don't have a good answer. You honestly can't lose by offering to help people during a tough time in the life of the business.

Don't worry about the contractual and legal stuff right now. It's probably not as urgent for the company as other aspects of making the acquisition work well.

  • Great insight! Yes, they did mention they wish to keep our name and customer base. Thank you also for the advice of "How can I help" - I agree, it never hurts to ask. – jake Apr 10 '14 at 15:17

When one company acquires another company, it acquires all the employment contracts with its employees along with it. In fact at first the acquired company doesn't usually go away - it just has a different owner. This means, unless you've signed something to the contrary, the terms of your employment after the acquisition are exactly the same as they were before, including entitlement to severance if you are laid off. If you ask your colleagues who were laid off you will almost certainly find that they were given appropriate severance payments.

In the longer term the acquiring company may decide to offer you new terms and contracts, but this will likely be when their HR department has worked out how they want to integrate you into the rest of their workforce. Or they may decide to keep the acquired company as a separate entity and keep your terms the same. In any case it will be some time in the future.

So the fact that you have not been offered a new contract is perfectly normal, and isn't a sign either way of whether or not you will be laid off.

I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Just based on experience of seeing things like this happen quite a bit.

  • Thank you - I'm definitely drawing from experience of those who have seen this type of situation before. – jake Apr 10 '14 at 15:15
  • And the terms of the employment contract should address the compensation in case of early termination / some kind of buy-out. – user8365 Apr 10 '14 at 15:24

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