Compensation Issues
When to Negotiate a Severance Package
When to Negotiate a Severance Package

When to Negotiate a Severance Package

Some employers attempt to soften the blow of laying employees off, letting them go, or firing them with severance packages. Severance packages refer to payments made to employees at the time of their termination. A severance package is often offered in exchange for an employee’s promise not to file a wrongful termination suit against the employer. When a severance package is less than fair or satisfactory, employees can engage in negotiations in pursuit of a better deal, and an experienced California discrimination attorney can help. 

Employees Generally Do Not Have the Right to Severance Packages

Employees are not guaranteed severance packages, and most don’t have the legal right to them upon termination. Severance agreements, however, help reduce the legal liability employers face in relation to wrongful termination claims, which motivates many to offer them – even when there’s no requirement to do so.

The Role of the Severance Package

California employees are afforded considerable rights related to discrimination under both state and federal laws, and terminations, such as layoffs, can lead to claims related to discrimination. By offering severance packages that prevent future claims and release existing claims, employers can protect themselves from related costs. In other words, many employers are incentivized by their own bottom lines to offer severance packages to those employees who are being laid off.

Severance packages are generally legally binding as long as the following apply:

  • The employee entered the deal voluntarily. 
  • The terms included in the deal are legal.

The severance agreement can be upheld even when the employer’s deal is considerably better than the employee’s, which – all too often – is the case. Before signing off on a severance package, discuss the matter with a dedicated discrimination attorney who knows the ins and outs of the involved circumstances. 

When Negotiating Is Advised

When an employee believes they’re being terminated as a means of discrimination or retaliation, they may have a legal claim against their employer, and accepting a severance package means letting go of the right to sue. In such a situation, negotiating a fair severance package is key. Keep all the following primary points in mind:

  • Employees who have been offered severance packages are not required to sign the agreements immediately.
  • Employees cannot be required to sign severance agreements.
  • Employees have the right to consult with knowledgeable discrimination attorneys prior to signing severance agreements. 

Employees who face termination are often overwhelmed and are not in the best position to make objective determinations regarding severance packages, which leaves them vulnerable to accepting unfavorable terms. Consulting with a seasoned attorney and exploring one’s options as they relate to negotiations is always well advised.

An Experienced California Discrimination Attorney Has the Legal Skill to Help

The well-respected California discrimination attorneys at Minnis & Smallets are proud of their track record for helping employees negotiate severance packages that uphold their rights and support their future endeavors. Employees have important rights that are well worth protecting, so please don’t hesitate to reach out and contact us for more information about what we can do to help today.

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