Losing your job can disrupt your entire life in an instant. Your job provided security for you and any loved ones dependent on you. You might not be sure how long it will be before you can find another similar position. While it won’t fully eliminate the stress of losing your job, a severance package can help get you by after being terminated. However, it might not come with all the benefits you expected or could make finding new employment more difficult. This is where severance lawyers can help.
Why Should You Consult with an Employment Severance Attorney?
If your severance package isn’t what you think you deserve, you don’t have to sign it. Instead, contact an employment attorney who will review your severance package and negotiate for better terms. Lawyers can also:
Ensure a Severance Agreement is Necessary
Some employees might not actually need to sign a severance agreement to receive their pay. When you took your job, you likely signed an employment contract that both you and your employer were expected to uphold. Some employment contracts include the severance pay you’re entitled to, so you and your employer could have already agreed to this amount.
So, if you’re wondering ‘should I have a lawyer review my employment contract?’, you should. An employment attorney can review these documents to ensure signing an agreement is necessary at all.
Calculate the Amount You Deserve
The amount your severance package offers might not encompass everything your employer owes you. Most packages typically offer one to two weeks’ pay for every year you’ve been with the company. However, those with managerial or executive positions within a company may receive more than this. In addition to your salary, your employer should also pay any money they currently owe you, such as your unused vacation time. Companies may try to give as little as they can, but you deserve more than this. Your employment attorney can help ensure you receive an adequate severance payment.
Review What Benefits You’ll Receive
No longer having benefits provided by your job can be a huge loss. In addition to severance pay, you could continue to receive some of your benefits. Your severance package may include this already, or it could be something that you want to negotiate for to be included. For example, some might have lost health insurance when they were terminated and may be able to continue receiving it until finding new employment.
Protect Your Future Job Opportunities
Naturally, one of the first things on your mind after losing your job is finding a new one. However, your job search might be limited due to the stipulations of your severance agreement. The agreement may include a non-compete agreement that prevents you from working with the company’s competitors. This aspect of your severance agreement needs to be carefully reviewed by experienced lawyers to ensure you aren’t hurting your future job opportunities.
Allow You to Take Legal Action
Fortunately, not everyone needs to take legal action against their employer, so this isn’t always something to worry about. However, if you experienced employment discrimination or any other unlawful behavior at your workplace, you may be interested in taking legal action against them. Severance packages may require you to waive your right to sue your employer when you accept them. If you’re considering taking legal action against your employer, you need seasoned severance lawyers to review the document to know what rights you’re giving up.
Provide Future References
In many severance agreements, you may find information regarding non-disparagement and references. This means that you agree not to speak or post negatively about the company, but it also refers to their treatment of you. After losing your job, you may be worried about future job opportunities and seeking a reference. If it’s not already included in the severance agreement, an attorney can negotiate to ensure you’ll still receive references.
Review Confidentiality Agreements
Accepting a severance package could mean agreeing to a certain level of confidentiality. However, others may need to know the terms and conditions of what you’re agreeing to in certain situations. For example, this information could be important to share with a spouse or financial advisor. Are individuals like this exempt from your confidentiality agreement, or could you be breaching your agreement without realizing it?
Working with a lawyer can help you understand who you can discuss this information with and negotiate if you need to share this information with certain parties.
Should I Have a Lawyer Review My Employment Contract?
Contracts are often filled with vague and confusing legal jargon. Since you may find it difficult to comprehend everything on your own, it’s a good idea to have a lawyer read through your employment contract before you sign the dotted line. An attorney can help you better understand the terms of your employment, negotiate any conditions you disagree with, and ensure the contract is fair and beneficial to you. Simply put, your lawyer can advise you on how to get the best deal possible.
Get the Severance Package You Deserve with Our Experienced Lawyers
Your severance package should benefit you, not hurt your future. A severance agreement attorney will review your package, advise you on whether or not to sign, and negotiate on your behalf. The attorneys at Bantle & Levy LLP work with employees, including those at the C-suite, and executive level, to help them get the best outcome.
Contact Bantle & Levy LLP today to learn more about how we help with severance package negotiation.