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Making Different Severance Benefit Offers to Dismissed Employees May Be Unlawful Discrimination

Lexology (05/01/12) Theodore A. Olsen

Attorneys caution employers against offering different severance benefits to departing employees and recommend that they implement severance pay plans that detail the amount of pay employees can expect. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in Gerner v. County of Chesterfield that different severance pay amounts could constitute an adverse action under Title VII even when lower amounts are offered after the employee’s employment has been terminated. Employers offering different severance terms can face discrimination liability.