When you depart from a company, the employer may offer you severance pay to ease some of the stress to achieve an amicable separation. Losing a job can be devastating enough without a financial cushion. If the company contractually agreed to this final payment, you might have to sign an agreement that relinquishes your right to sue upper management. Before agreeing to the terms, your employees should understand all aspects of the process. Read on to learn more about how severance agreements are implemented and enforced.
- A Los Angeles workplace lawyer should write up the severance agreement. When an employer makes a verbal promise, they are likely to forget it. Written agreements document the company’s responsibilities and obligations to you, which avoids misinterpretation and confusion. Once you sign, it acts as a legally binding document that you can refer to if upon termination.
- There is no set rate for a payout. Some companies provide one- or two week’s salary for each year of employment. If the company is laying off staff, for instance, your severance package will differ from your co-worker’s if you are not categorized as a long-term employee. However, if you lose your job for misconduct or poor performance the employer has the right to rescind their deal partially or entirely. If severance is offered in your contract, you might be able to request the possibility to resign as opposed to getting fired.
- You should be offered a set time to review the agreement before signing. If you feel pressured to sign away your rights, reach out to an attorney to help facilitate the process. After your employment ends, payment should begin per agreed terms. If your agreement is not met, you can file a claim for unpaid wages until the company corrects the mistake. The company is likely to address the situation promptly, as it can lead to negative press.
- Employers must provide you with a copy of the employee handbook if you request one. The handbook will include detailed information about the company’s employment policy and might be accompanied by your offer letter. You may want to consider asking for a copy of your employee file, termination documents, benefit forms, and other employment action forms while you take the full 21 days to review the agreement.
- Once you walk away from the company, all contact should be directed to human resources – not your employer. The agreement protects and releases an employer from further liability by an employee. In some cases, you may find that the agreement prohibits you from discussing the terms of the agreement. This can be challenged in court with the right attorney for severance disputes to avoid the risk of the company retaliating during this challenging time. When in doubt, always seek legal advice from a reputable law firm like Mann & Elias.