Business Tips

Layoffs and terminations

How to stay legal when handling terminations and layoffs, state by state

Dealing with terminations, layoffs, resignations, or any other type of separation is rarely listed as a favorite aspect of anyone’s job, but it is a reality for virtually all businesses. Handling separations correctly can put your organization in a better position to defend against wrongful termination claims and to demonstrate compliance. While contemporaneous documentation of separations and the underlying reasons for them is always a good idea, in some states, a separation notice is a legal requirement. As described in more detail below, employers in the following states should provide written notice of separation to departing employees.

State by state regulations

In accordance with AZ Revised Statute 23-772, Arizona employers must make available to each individual at the time the individual becomes unemployed, a printed statement dealing with claims for unemployment benefits, such as the document found here.

In California, employers must notify employees immediately upon discharge, layoff, leave of absence, or change in employment status, but such notice is not required when an employee voluntarily quits, is promoted or demoted, if the work assignment or location changes, or if work stops due to a trade dispute. A sample Notice to Employee as to Change in Relationship can be found here. California employers must also give the following pamphlet describing unemployment insurance, disability insurance, paid family leave, and Job Service benefits to departing employees no later than the effective date of their termination.

Handling separations correctly can put your organization in a better position to defend against wrongful termination claims and to demonstrate compliance.

Connecticut employers must provide documentation immediately upon termination of employment in accordance with Section 31-18b(c) of the Connecticut Personnel Files Act, as well as an Unemployment Notice, found here.

Georgia law similarly requires that an employee be furnished with a separation notice that contains detailed reasons for the employee’s separation. The separation notice should be delivered in person on the last day of work or if the employee is not available, should be mailed to the last known address.

When workers in Illinois are laid off for a period of seven days or more, or are separated from payroll for any reason, you must provide a copy of this publication. Louisiana employers must complete and provide the following form to the state and a departing employee within 72 hours of a separation.

Massachusetts employers must provide a copy of the “How to file for unemployment insurance benefits” pamphlet to all employees who are separated from work, permanently or temporarily. Under the state’s Employment and Training Law, this pamphlet must be provided as soon as practicable, but no more than 30 days from the last day the employee performed compensable work. Massachusetts employers must also provide the address and telephone number of the regional office which serves the recipient.

As always, good record keeping is best practice, so any time you provide a separation notice, keep a copy, signed as appropriate, for your files.

In Michigan, employees should receive an Unemployment Compensation Notice to Employee upon their separation from employment.

Nevada employers should provide this notice to employees who are laid off or otherwise leave employment. In accordance with the Unemployment Compensation Law of New Jersey and the Employment Security Rule, employers must provide this pamphlet with instructions for claiming unemployment benefits to departing employees.

New York State Labor Law §195(6) requires employers to notify any employee terminated from employment, in writing, of the exact date of such termination as well as the exact date of cancellation of employee benefits connected with such termination. This notice must be provided within five working days after the date of termination. This law specifically requires notification as to cancellation of accident or health insurance and/or other benefits offered by the employer such as accrued time off. New York employers must also give this completed form to a separated employee to facilitate their application for unemployment benefits.

Employees in Pennsylvania should be provided with this form on unemployment benefits upon separation for any reason.

A Separation Notice on a form prescribed by the Tennessee Department of Workforce and Development must be given to the separated employee within 24 hours of separation. The form can be found here.

As always, good recordkeeping is best practice, so any time you provide a separation notice, keep a copy, signed as appropriate, for your files. Please note, this blog article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Contact myHRcounsel with questions concerning specific facts and circumstances.