So I was just laid off (don't worry, had an interview lined up before I even got home) and I have had a chance to read my severance package in detail. It's not like packages we got in the 90's or even early 2000's.
My package is X weeks of pay, paid out at the normal intervals they pay out employees and at the end of that time I'm "terminated". During that time I do get full benefits, which is nice. However the severance document (which I had to either sign or not sign right there) states that if at any time during X weeks I take another job I forfeit the remainder of my severance.
Now I've heard this is becoming more and more common. In 2009 I was caught in a layoff and they did 60 days on "payroll" and then X weeks lump sum. If I was rehired by the company in another job in those 60 days I would forfeit my package.
My question is, is this legal?
It seems odd to me. I am pretty sure I didn't sign any exclusivity agreement that said I wouldn't work any other job when I took this job (except for working for direct competitors of course). During my years of employment I've made an extra income as a freelance writer as well.
And what if I was already holding a job? Maybe I was a part time usher at a theater (I'm not, just a what if), would that count as having another job? What if I took a job at Starbucks to make some extra cash? Does that count?
I doesn't seem right, that doesn't mean it's not legal.
So can my old company really stop paying me if I get a new job?