Severance Pay: Are You Waiving Your Rights? | Mann & Elias
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Severance Pay: Are You Waiving Your Rights?

Review Your Severance Agreement with a Workplace Lawyer in LA

The employment attorneys of Mann & Elias are well-versed in handling claims concerning severance agreements, employment termination agreements, and reasonable severance pay packages. A severance package may be a great opportunity depending on the nature of your termination. Before agreeing to the terms, you should consult with an attorney for severance pay compensation in Los Angeles to safeguard you from waiving your rights.

Severance agreements are a form of compensation or value that are offered upon termination. However, some clauses are normally buried within the contract. It can prevent you from pursuing your next employment opportunity or waive your rights to sue entirely. While it softens the blow of getting laid off or fired, it is important to remember that companies are not putting your best interests first. Instead, employers are essentially protecting the business in exchange for benefits.

Since 2017, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been investigating cases where employees were expected to give up their rights to sue. But that has not deterred employers from doing so. For example, the EEOC won a case for a book distributor in Illinois. The employee claimed the employer engaged in discriminatory practices and offered an unfair severance agreement. Instead of accepting, the employee retained legal help for severance negotiations, which shed light on circumstances where employers are buying time to evade consequences.

When it comes to understanding your terms and conditions as an employee, you should turn to lawyers that other attorneys consult for their clients.

The “Layoff Payoff”

Employers are not legally obligated to provide benefits and monetary packages when they fire or lay off an employee. In the U.S., many employers have a clear, written policy about severance agreements. Policies help both you and your employer establish a positive relationship – and you know exactly what to expect if you are on the verge of losing your job. During such a difficult time, you might feel a loss of control when thinking about health benefits, loss of income, and career.

If you suspect your job might be laying off employees soon, chances are employers will try to entice workers to stay through a severance package. In doing so, they hinder accepting employees from searching for a new job through a legal contract. The amount offered to you is based on your years of service at a business or corporation. An employer will also account for your position, salary/hourly wage, and contract of employment. A severance pay lawyer in LA will check for consistency and hidden clauses should you need to amend the terms of the agreement.

How Employers May Silence Former Employees

A Los Angeles workplace lawyer will pinpoint exactly how an employer may try to silence you in a severance package. Offering money or perks alone in exchange for a non-contractual deal is an unlawful practice. Employees are protected under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). This policy guarantees their right to act when trying to improve their wage and working conditions. It also prohibits companies from interfering with their ability to exercise this right whether an employee is unionized. If the severance package goes against the NLRA provision, it can turn into an expensive lawsuit.

Here are a few traps you should look out for:

Blanket Waivers – Avoid any provision that requires you to waive your right to file in exchange for severance pay and benefits. You should not have to sign away your right.

Non-disparagement Clauses – The clauses should be clear to avoid confusion. The broader it is can prevent you from acting collectively.

Confidentiality Provisions – This may violate NLRA policies if the provision prohibits you from discussing the terms of your severance package or workplace matters with your co-workers. While we recommend you do not disclose important information during the process, you can share information about what you might be receiving (pay and benefits). Look out for policies that prohibit this.

Non-Solicitation Clauses – If the clause is extremely broad, it goes against NLRA policies. It is borderline illegal for companies if the clause is interpreted in a way that insinuates workers cannot band together in opposition to unfair wages and working conditions.

Hammering Out the Details

Thinking of negotiating a severance package? If yes, you have 21 days before you need to accept or decline the agreement. Take time to review the provisions with an attorney for severance pay compensation for a firm understanding of what the company is offering in line with your industry and role. You might be able to modify the following:

  • Severance amount
  • How the severance is paid
  • Healthcare coverage plan
  • Date of termination/layoff
  • Retirement plan and stock options
  • Outplacement and job-training

Employers are expected to follow the law and provide a severance agreement in line with the EEOC, NLRA, and DOL (Department of Labor). When they violate your rights, they are also violating federal requirements, which can lead to litigation.

About Mann & Elias

The Law Offices of Mann & Elias is an employment law firm that provides guidance and legal support for individuals facing issues in the workplace. We represent clients at every level of the state and federal court systems in lawsuits regarding discrimination, wrongful termination, unpaid wages, and more. When your case is in our hands, we hope to minimize stress and concerns associated with work.

Workplace disputes and negotiations can be complicated and uncomfortable between an employee and employer. In many cases an employer can retaliate, causing individuals to feel that they are at a great disadvantage in the company. When you retain one of our lawyers, you will be well-protected and advised. While there are thousands of lawyers to choose from, we strongly believe our success is based on:

  • 50+ years of trial experience
  • Excellent advocacy skills
  • Intense preparation and research
  • Quality care

Since our partnership began over 20 years ago, we have settled hundreds of claims, completed 100 jury and bench trials, and recovered more than $18 million in settlements. In the end, our goal is to understand what you need and achieve the best outcome for you by focusing on those needs. For dedicated representation with no upfront fees, give us a call at 323-866-9564 or email


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