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Severance & Contracts

Severance Agreements

Some employers may offer a severance package to a terminated employee. Severance packages might include monetary payments, vacation or sick pay, stock options, and/or job-search assistance. Knowing whether a severance agreement is fair or in your best interest can be complicated. Our employment attorneys can help you decide if a severance agreement is fair and ensure your rights are protected when you separate from employment.

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Severance Agreement Details

In general, employers are not obligated to offer their employees a severance package. You should ask your employer whether a severance package might be available in your circumstances. Severance packages are often reduced to writing in the form of a severance agreement. In exchange for the package, your employer will likely require you to waive potential legal claims against it.

If you are facing termination and being offered a severance agreement, it is important to find out just how much you might be giving up by waiving potential legal claims. Other issues related to severance agreements might require legal assistance. For example, the employer might refuse to provide the severance it promised, or that it gave to employees in similar circumstances. Worse, the employer might try to use a severance agreement to lure you into a non-compete agreement (NCA) that limits your ability to find replacement work in your industry. An employer might also be attempting to limit or eliminate monetary payments or benefits to which you are already entitled by law.

Our employment attorneys can help you protect your interests and rights during the stressful process of separating from employment.

Examples of Potential Severance Issues

Examples of potential violations are provided below:

  • You are offered a severance package that includes terms you do not understand.
  • You are offered a severance package after possibly being terminated for reasons related to your age, race, sex or gender, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected status.
  • You are offered a severance package after possibly being terminated for reasons related to your reporting (or refusal to do) something illegal and are asked to waive all legal claims against the employer.
  • You are offered a severance package after possibly being terminated for reasons related to your requesting (say) accommodations for disability, pregnancy, religion, or otherwise exercising your civil rights (say, to FMLA leave).
  • You are offered a severance package when you might be subject to a non-compete or other restrictive post-employment covenant.
  • You are not offered a severance package at termination even though your employer typically offers them to people like you.
  • You believe your time with an employer is coming to an end, and that you might be entitled to a severance package, or that a severance agreement might be in your mutual best interest.

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