Many employees who are laid off from their jobs are offered something called a severance package, which is a mixture of compensation and benefits for the employee for some length of time. Whether or not the employee gets severance and the amount of a severance package depend many factors, including the length of time an employee has worked for the company, the employee’s rank within the company, and employment contracts.
In many cases an employee is blindsided by the job loss, and has had no time to save money or to mentally prepare for the job loss. If you lose your job, it is important that you don’t jump in and agree to anything right away. Give yourself a chance to fully understand your legal rights before agreeing to anything. In most cases, in exchange for a severance package, employers will ask you sign an agreement waiving your right to sue. You may also be asked to sign a non-compete agreement, depending on the type of work performed and the state in which you work. You should wait to sign anything until you’ve had the chance to talk to a lawyer.
Laying off or firing an employee can be very tough for a business, especially if the employee has been a long-term employee. Employees can often use their performance records, as well as work history, to deal for a better severance package. This could include not only more salary, but also extended insurance, as well as other perks.
In some cases, the decision to terminate an employee is based on an illegal reason, such as race or sex discrimination. If an employee can prove that his or her termination is wrongful, the employee may be entitled to damages. It is very important that employees protect their ability to make any claims that arise in connection with the termination, and be sure not to waive those rights in exchange for a small severance.
There are many issues that can arise with severance packages that can make an employment attorney’s help with the negotiations invaluable. First, you may ask an attorney to review a non-compete agreement before you sign. The agreement may be too limiting and could scare away a future employer. An attorney can also ensure that your departure is not considered a resignation, which could prevent you from receiving unemployment benefits.
You could also have issues with the company that you have not yet addressed, such as discrimination claims. An employment lawyer can help advise you whether it is necessary to sign a severance agreement before you receive your severance pay, and can help with the complicated provisions that those severance agreements can contain, such as releasing claims, confidential information, references and integration clauses.
If you are fearing a job loss, or if you have been terminated, you are probably scared about the future. Although that’s natural, it is important that you remain level-headed until any negotiations between you and your employer have ended. During this time, an employment attorney can be a great asset on your behalf. If you are a valuable employee or have been with your employer for a long period of time, an employment attorney can be invaluable.
Micha Star Liberty of Liberty Law believes that employees should vigorously pursue any and all severance options to which they may be entitled. If you are in the San Francisco Bay area, including Berkeley, Fairfield, Tracy, Concord, Hayward, Oakland, Fremont or Richmond, and you have lost your job or you believe you could lose your job, call Micha Star Liberty, Oakland employment attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000 or . She can help you walk through your possible options.