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Coronavirus Layoffs Slam Austin, Texas

Coronavirus layoffs are affecting thousands of Austin, Texas and central Texas workers right now. In an unprecedented turn of events, the COVID-19 virus and resulting lockdowns, shelter-in-place orders, social distancing have resulting in the decimation of retail, hospitality, and travel jobs. The unrelated but concurrent oil market crash is putting further strain on jobs across Texas. The federal government’s action did not come in time to save many jobs. All told, when the numbers are tallied, we believe this will be one of the worst months in history for Texas employees.

Layoffs are certainly hitting bars, restaurants, and hotels hard. A recent news article details reductions-in-force or furloughs at mainstays like ALC Steaks, the Four Seasons Hotel, the Austin Proper Hotel, and the newly remodeled Line Hotel.

Startups are also affected, including startup luminaries like Capital Factory, DIsco, The Guild, and last year’s local fundraising leader, RigUp.

Employees have options, but they are limited. First, we suggest that all laid off employees immediately apply for unemployment. The Texas Workforce Commission is receiving an unprecedented number of applications right now, so if you have trouble getting through you may want to try applying between the hours of 1am-6am. No, we are not kidding.

The bottom line is: Coronvirus layoffs are slamming Austin, Texas. Workers have to react as best they can. Many ATX companies will offer laid off employees a severance. Severance contracts are always negotiable, just like any other contract. However, like any negotiation, you will want to identify your leverage in order to negotiate it. If you have reason to believe you were included in a layoff for an illegal reason such as race, color, religion, national origin, gender, pregnancy, etc. (e.g., no one else in your role was laid off and you are the only pregnant employee), you may want to reach out to an Austin layoff lawyer to discuss.

There are other reason to consult with a lawyer before signing a severance. If you need to negotiate out of a prior non-compete or non-solicit agreement, you will likely want to reach out to a lawyer to discuss. If your company owes you money it hasn’t paid, like unpaid commissions, guaranteed bonuses, or your last paycheck – and asks you to sign away your rights for less – you should strongly consider consulting with a lawyer.

Specific to #ATX employees: any tech sales employees, especially those in outbound software sales, who face a layoff should consult with a severance lawyer before signing away potentially valuable rights.