Severance pay is one of those terms often heard, but one you may not fully understand unless you’ve had experience with it in the past. The tricky part about severance pay is understanding when it is due and when it is not. In the state of California, there are only a couple of situations in which employers are required to provide severance pay, and there are no concrete rules about what constitutes a severance package.
What is Severance Pay?
Severance pay is typically an amount of financial pay given to an employee as compensation for being fired, laid off, or released. A severance package can consist of any number of benefits, including payment for unused vacation time, payment in lieu of a required notice period, medical or life insurance, retirement benefits, stock options, assistance in job search, and additional months of payment.
Severance Pay in California
In California, you may be entitled to severance pay after losing your job, but this is not very likely. Because severance pay in California is not required by state law, you usually have no course for legal action if not given a severance package after being laid off, fired, or released. There are a couple of situations, though, in which your employer could be required to offer a severance package. These include:
- If there is a specific contractual obligation, employment policy, or practice which states you are owed severance in the event of being fired, laid off, or released.
- Your employer led you to believe you would be paid severance, as evidenced by a written contract, documented promise in an employee handbook, a history of the company paying severance, or an oral promise to pay severance.
Legal Action for Denied Severance Pay
While severance is by no means required in California, there are situations in which your employer can be held legally responsible for supplying terminated employees with a severance package. If you believe either of the above situations is true in your case, you may have grounds for legal action. To find out more, contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
The Law Offices of Mann & Elias
Since 1998, we have offered exceptional, high quality legal representation to members of Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, San Diego, San Bernardino, and Orange counties. We have helped thousands of individuals receive the employment benefits they deserve. If you believe you are owed severance pay from an employer, contact us today.