An individual's separation from employment can be a time filled with confusion and stress. Career transitions need to be thought out and planned, but that provision is not always allotted to the employee. Employees who are presented with a severance agreement or separation package should obtain legal advice to understand their rights and obligations prior to accepting such an agreement.
Many employers will inform employees that they should discuss a severance agreement with a lawyer prior to signing. Severance agreements usually contain provisions releasing any and all claims the employee may have had up to the time of executing the agreement. Some employees may have legitimate claims that can lead to lawsuits and significant damages against their employers. Once the severance agreement is signed, however, any such claim may be forever lost.
Severance Review. This is our foundational "know what you're signing" service. We'll alert you to potential red flags in the contract, explain the meaning of all the legalese, suggest areas for negotiation, and make sure all of your questions are answered so that you can make an informed decision prior to signing a severance agreement. The primary issue of concern in a proposed severance agreement is the amount of severance pay that is offered to the terminated employee by the employer. Other issues may also need to be discussed before signing. Unresolved benefit issues may pertain to retirement plans, stock plans, stock options, bonuses, incentive compensation amounts, and health insurance. Other non-monetary issues governing future communications between the parties and third parties should also be considered and potentially addressed in the agreement.
Severance Negotiation. Most importantly, an employee should remember that a severance agreement presented by an employer is drafted to protect the employer's interests, not the employee's concerns. We will represent your during severance negotiations with your employer. If the severance agreement contains provisions that are not agreeable or are not in your best interest, we will negotiate with your employer on your behalf to have those provisions changed or removed. The severance agreement should further and protect your interests, not only those of your employer. If you have a potential claim for wrongful termination, we will address it in the severance negotiation process.
If you have been offered a severance agreement or believe you should be entitled to a severance package, contact us for a detailed analysis of your legal options.