Black And Brown Employees Worry About Layoffs Far More Than White Workers

Black And Brown Employees Worry About Layoffs Far More Than White Workers

On May 2, the expert platform JustAnswer published a workplace survey that found that Black adults in the U.S. are more concerned with impending layoffs than white working adults, with 66% of Black employees and 55% of Hispanic employees expressing uncertainty about their future. This is a stark difference compared to white employees, of whom only 30% have shown concern.

The disproportion indicates a larger conversation around the workplace and layoffs, however. Findings from JustAnswer’s 2023 YouGov survey of over 1,000 adults revealed that Black employees were about twice as likely as their white counterparts to negotiate their payouts. This survey also discovered that, of the respondents, Black and Hispanic employees were more likely to pursue legal action if having experienced or witnessed something illegal at their workplace compared to white employees. Only 30% of white respondents have taken the legal route, as opposed to 58% of Black and Hispanic respondents. 

JustAnswer employment law expert attorney Sheila Huggins has advice on managing workplace topics, specifically how best to manage severance pay negotiations. 

“If you feel your severance offer is inadequate and your relationship with the company has remained positive, you may want to consider negotiating with your employer—but remember that there is a risk involved. Since there aren’t legal requirements to offer severance, your employer could technically decide to take back the original offer altogether,” says Huggins.

Achieving severance pay is not always a cut-and-dry process. Huggins says, “Keep in mind that when you do sign a severance agreement, you waive many of your employee rights in exchange for your severance package. For example, your contract could stipulate that you can’t work for certain employers in the near future, which could slow down your job hunt. These are usually referred to as non-compete clauses.”

While some states have banned the use of non-compete clauses in certain circumstances, in those that have not, individuals need to ensure that they are not signing away their rights to work jobs that align with their experiences and education. As layoffs within various industries approach, it is important as a worker to understand where you stand and what your rights are. For more inquiries and legal counsel, visit

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