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Laid Off Employees: Don’t Sign that Severance Agreement Without Consulting Your Attorney

above-the-bar-logo-no12.jpgCitibank recently announced that it plans to cut 4,500 jobs over the next few quarters. At a financial services conference at Goldman Sachs & Co., Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit stated that the layoffs are part of the banks effort to reduce costs given the bank’s decreased revenues and “unprecedented” market conditions. Citibank will be taking a $400 million pre-tax charge related to reductions, including severance pay in its 4th quarter statements.

CitiGroup is the third biggest U.S. bank by assets and employed about 267,000 people as of September 30th. The 4,500 work force reduction amounts to about 2% of CitiGroup’s total employees. The layoffs are planned to take place over the next few quarters and will affect employees from its different businesses. Our attorneys have counseled many laid off employees in the financial and banking sector and helped them to obtain the best severance package possible.

Most of the cuts are expected to come from Citigroup’s back office and investment banking operations. London based investment bankers were already laid off this past weeks and several hundred jobs in Europe, the Middle East, and the Africa region are also expected to be cut. Since Pandit took rein of Citigroup in 2007, he has cut down hundreds of billions of dollars in assets, strengthened its risk controls, and paid back the $45 million bailout money it received in 2008 to prevent its collapse. Pandit’s cost cutting plan to lighten Citigroup’s load has resulted in massive layoffs.

Citigroup is not the only bank engaging in massive layoffs. According to Bloomberg data, the banking and financial industry has cut over 200,000 jobs throughout the world just in 2011. For example, Bank of America announced its plan just a few months ago to lay off 30,000 employees over the next couple of years. This past summer, HSBC also said that it planned to cut 30,000 worldwide by 2013 as well as sell half of its retail bank branches in the U.S.

If you are in the banking or financial industry, know your rights in the event you are laid off. Although losing your job and security can be devastating, it is imperative that you stay calm and don’t sign any severance agreement without consulting our experienced Severance Attorneys. For example, if you are laid off from Citigroup, you know that it has already set aside money related to severance pay. Our attorneys can help you figure out your strengths and any potential claims you may have to obtain the best possible severance package. Also keep in mind with massive layoffs that State and federal law require your employer to give advanced notice of being laid off. For example, under New York’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (“WARN Act”), if a business has 50 or more full time employees and plans to lay off 33% of its workforce or 250 or more workers, it must give 90 days notice. These are just a few things to consider when you are laid off.

In this time of massive layoffs and restructuring in the financial industry, it is crucial to know your rights and options to protect yourself during any period of unemployment you might have to endure. If you have been recently laid off, call our Severance Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to help you figure out if you’re former employer is giving you the best possible severance package you deserve. Our attorneys have negotiated better packages clients let go from many Fortune 500 companies.

Disclaimer: 

Thank you for visiting our Blog. This blog provides general information and thoughts about various employment law issues primarily in the New York Tri-State area and occasionally in other areas. You are welcome to read the posts. However, do not construe any content on this blog as legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Again, we provide the content only for informational purposes. You should not make decisions based information on our blog since the application of the law depends on the facts and each situation may be different. In addition, the law in most jurisdictions is different and changes constantly and we make no representations that any information on our blog has been updated. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney in your state or jurisdiction.