What You Should Know About Your Severance Package | Mann & Elias
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What You Should Know About Your Severance Package


When you lose your job, your first thought may be, how you will continue paying your bills and supporting yourself and your family until you find a new position. To ease the transition between jobs, many employers provide employees who have been laid off with a severance package. While this package will usually include financial compensation, access to a continuation of health insurance and other benefits, and other perks, it is also important you know exactly what is included in your severance package prior to you signing an agreement accepting the package as-is. Since you may be unknowingly signing away your rights to sue your employer in the future. Never agree to a package immediately. Instead, consult with Mann Elias and discuss your situation with our severance pay lawyers in Los Angeles trusts

Am I Legally Entitled to Severance Pay?

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may assume your employer is legally required to give you a severance package. However, severance agreements are in most cases not legally required to be offered to employees by companies. However, some states do have laws requiring employers to provide employees with a nominal amount of severance pay upon release. Should you believe your employer is not following the law and does in fact owe you severance pay, meet with a Mann Elias employment attorney in Los Angeles at once.

Looking Out for Number One

While many employers will offer severance packages as a gesture of appreciation to employees, others may do so for other reasons. For example, they may be wanting to get you out the door as fast as possible in hopes of avoiding a lawsuit. This often happens in situations where an employee has complained about various types of discrimination or harassment against them, such as those pertaining to race, gender, or sexual harassment. Since employees usually must agree to give up certain rights prior to agreeing to acceptance of their severance package, you should always think carefully before agreeing to an employer’s terms. If you believe you have been a victim of discrimination or harassment on the job and now have issues with your severance package, consult with a knowledgeable attorney about your severance pay options.

Signing Away Your Rights

Even if you have had problems with your employer and are more than eager to walk out the door with a severance package in tow, doing so may actually cost you significant compensation in the long run. For example, if your employer objected to you taking leave under the FMLA and then suddenly decided to give you a severance package, it is likely they are trying to get rid of you before you take legal action against them. Unfortunately, should you sign on the dotted line and accept their severance offer, you have lost your legal right to pursue a lawsuit. Rather than make this critical mistake, never agree to acceptance of a severance package until you have received legal help about the negotiation process.

Negotiating with Your Employer

While many employees assume severance packages are given to them as a take it or leave it proposition, that is not true. In fact, you should always negotiate with your employer when a severance package is being discussed. In doing so, you may be able to strike a much better deal in terms of financial compensation and other benefits. In addition, you may also be able to gain more flexibility regarding what rights you may have to forfeit upon taking the severance offer. Employers have great flexibility in deciding what to include in your severance package.

Benefits and Method of Pay

When negotiating a severance package with your employer, some of the most important areas will include the benefits to be included and the method of pay your employer will utilize to give you your compensation. Regarding benefits, you should always try to negotiate not only your health insurance, but also such things as disability and life insurance, accrued time off, and other perks you want included. As for the method of pay, you may have the option of receiving a lump-sum payment or over a period of time, very similar to how you were receiving your standard paychecks. If your employer is willing to work with you and is eager for you to leave, you will have more leverage. To increase the odds even more in your favor, seek legal representation to take lead in your negotiations.

Take Time to Decide

If your employer implies you have to make an immediate decision on the spot about your severance package, they are wrong. In any package, it should be stated you have a period of time to decide whether or not to accept the offer. This can vary from a few days to perhaps two weeks, so don’t procrastinate. Also, should you be over 40 years old, you will be protected by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act. With this law, you will have a minimum of 21 days to consider the offer, as well as seven days to change your mind after you make a decision. Negotiations of this nature often go back and forth between both parties.

By making a decision one way or another regarding your severance package, you are determining the financial future of you and perhaps your family. If you believe you can get a better deal from your employer or feel you may need to pursue a lawsuit later on, schedule a consultation with a workplace lawyer at the law firm of Mann & Elias.


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