by Richard Wanderer, October 13, 2013

When I wrote my fictional suspense novel, THE HOLIDAY PARTY (A Tale of a Corporate Takeover), this thought was very much on my mind.  After all, I had spent over 50 years of my life in the advertising sales departments of major national magazines on New York City’s Madison Avenue and in Los Angeles. I have seen corporate greed encroach upon the rights and livelihoods of employees.  My background as a California lawyer, later in life, helped me, too, to develop my approach to answer this inquiry – what should you do if the company you work for is taken over?

What a difficult situation one finds they are in when they have been a loyal, dedicated employee that helped their employer build a successful business – only to find one day the company has been sold to a new owner. Employees, regardless of the industries they are involved in. usually think of their companies as “we”, i.e. we make this and we do that, etc. If it has been a good company to work for – one that treats their employees well – like a home away from home – your personal identity is with the company. This is why it is so often difficult for one to adjust to the takeover of their company and the chaos a takeover can often cause. Nevertheless, once an employee gives thought to this, there are some things that one can do about this type of situation.

The following are some of my suggestions:

First of all, check out who the takeover company is.  A site like Glassdoor.com that lists, according to a company’s employees, reviews of thousands of companies. See what they have to say about the company (if it is on the list) what their opinion of the takeover company is.  One should ask their friends and acquaintances in the industry involved what they have heard, too. Chances are the manner in which they treat their own people – hopefully well – they will treat employees of the company they have taken over. Therefore, one should get feedback;

Second – A person should visit their Human Resources Department with this caveat – remember they are paid by the same employer as the employee is.  Therefore, care should be taken in confiding their own personal thoughts about this situation.  Still – they are the resource about finding out whatever benefits a person has earned, i.e., savings accounts, 401K, profit sharing (if any), health benefits, etc.  One should receive all of the paperwork they are entitled to;

Third – They should see an actuary with this paperwork. If one is an older employee, they may find that certain magic words like “late retiree accrual” can open up employee earnings they may never have known they were entitled to;

Fourth – A person should locate a good employer/employee attorney (this is not my specialty).  One’s state bar association should be able to help find one.  If one can’t afford to hire a lawyer, the bar association may be albe to help one find free legal assistance. Certainly they should do this if they feel they have been treated unfairly.  Remember one should not stand their alone, their employer has their own attorneys;

Fifth – As the new management is settling in, be very careful about confiding anything of a negative nature to the new management you find you are now dealing with. They certainly have agendas of their own;

Sixth – One should stop and think of all of their options when confronted with a takeover, layoff or downsizing of their company. They should analyze the skills they have learned over the years before, if necessary, seeking new employment. Realize, too this could also be a good time for one to go back to school to expand one’s opportunities or even contemplae the possiblity of becoming their own boss in an enterprise of their own with the skills they have already learned.


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