During a "downsizing" why wouldn't a companies give people 1-2 weeks notice beforehand so they have a chance to train other employees about what they were working on, say goodbye, etc? Severance pay is nice for finding a new job, but not for being able to keep in touch with other employees, setting up references, etc. What reasons would a company have for doing it suddenly and without warning?

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    It's not always done this way. It depends on company practices and overall situation. – PM 77-1 Jun 11 '16 at 2:18
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    There are a long list of possible reasons, from managing employee response to managing media responses to managing stock market response to managing creditor response to... Different companies have different concerns at different times and manage each layoff differently. I don't think a single clear answer is possible here. – keshlam Jun 11 '16 at 2:48
  • You're assuming that's the way it's always done. It isn't. – Simon B Jun 11 '16 at 21:54

To prevent malicious actions by the departing employees.

  • I asked my project manager this question, and this was almost the exact answer he gave. – Anketam Jun 11 '16 at 11:27
  • Short & sweet. But yes I've been at companies that have done "sudden" layoffs and that has always been the explanation. – Carson63000 Jun 12 '16 at 3:26
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    Also, it doesn't have to be malicious. When you announce a layoff, the best employees will try to leave first, or will try to use their unused vacations, or will stop doing unpaid overtime. The same goes with customers. An existing customer may not want to renew his contract if he finds out the company is laying off a large number of people. There is also the demoralizing aspect of everyone losing their job. Even if those employees don't try to do anything malicious, productivity and accountability will inevitably suffer since those people know they won't have a job in a couple of weeks. – Stephan Branczyk Jun 12 '16 at 12:08
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    In more secure environments, you get escorted out by security. You don't even get to collect your things. It is NOT a good experience, for anyone. Also, the "blind sided effects" may sometimes be required if it is not a management decision, but an investor decision. Letting staff know there is a coming layoff may trigger stock selling that will get someone into HUGE trouble. – Nelson Jun 13 '16 at 7:50
  • @StephanBranczyk Yeah, it would be interesting to have a two week period at the office where basically everyone was taking vacation before their last day. – user37746 Jul 11 '16 at 16:10

If you make someone redundant you are saying their job is not needed thus there is nothing to hand over. If there was then the person being made redundant could have a legal case

Also making people redundant says the company is not doing well. Knowledge of the redundancy could affect a company's stock price (could significantly rise! or fall) this stock market rules could well mean that notice cannot be given.

However I suspect the main reason is as given in other answers that if you sack someone they could tend to take retaliatory action so best to stop the employee's ability to do that,

  • "Redundant" means that more than one person is doing the same thing, but the phrase "made redundant" actually means "we don't need anyone doing this thing" - correct? Why is not the proper term used: made unnecessary? It is exactly opposite in meaning. – user37746 Jul 11 '16 at 16:05
  • See a dictionary e.g. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/redundant unnecessary because it is more than is needed: - so you don;t seem to have the correct meaning – user151019 Jul 11 '16 at 19:19
  • But the only way to "make someone redundant" would be to hire another person to do the same job (then fire the first person???). Consider "Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID)", this does not mean "unnecessary", it means that the redundancy is there for safety purposes. – user37746 Jul 12 '16 at 2:42
  • As I said see dictionaries and a lot of UK law - you are not using redundancy as most people use it = if you make someone redundant it is explicit in law you cannot replace them - – user151019 Jul 12 '16 at 9:05
  • I think that the word 'unnecessary' is more directly applicable. Don't get me started on 'envy' and 'jealousy'. – user37746 Jul 12 '16 at 12:05

Aside from what's being said already by @kevincline, telling someone that they'll be laid off, then asking them to train other employees to do their job is quite absurd, they'll just tell you to screw you.

In fact, asking them to do anything productive will be most likely be met anger.

There is really no valid point in keeping an employee that you have laid off. And for an employee, there is absolutely no valid point to stay at work once they know they'll be laid off.

  • That's where Severance Package comes into play. Do what you are asked and you leave with it, tell the company off and leave without it. – PM 77-1 Jun 11 '16 at 22:00
  • PM77, Yes, but a severance package costs money and not every company in the US is willing to offer a good severance package in case of a massive layoff. – Stephan Branczyk Jun 12 '16 at 12:11

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