If you have lost your job and your employer is offering you a severance agreement, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney before signing. This is because most severance agreements require the employee to give up his or her right to sue the employer for any reason whatsoever, including discrimination, retaliation, and failure to pay all wages due. In other words, once you sign, you are done, even if you later figure out that your employer owes you more money than they paid you as part of the severance agreement.
Information about Severance Agreements
Severance pay (also sometimes called continuation pay or termination pay) is money (and sometimes benefits such as COBRA payments) that an employer pays to an employee who is laid off or fired. Employers are not required by law to offer severance agreements to their employees. But often employers do offer severance agreements in exchange for the employee giving up his or her legal rights and waiving any right to sue for employment law violations that may have occurred.
Severance agreements normally favor the employer. For example, they may require the employee to agree not to disparage or speak badly about the employer, while not limiting the employer’s right to free speech in this manner.
Severance agreements also normally contain broad language that that is intended to insulate the employer from legal liability and lawsuits. Most severance agreements d not similarly protect employees from claims brought by their former employers.
If you are offered a severance agreement, you may find its technical language to be confusing. Severance agreements are contracts, so it is important to read them carefully before signing. If your boss is pressuring you to sign a severance agreement, it may be because he or she is worried that you will hire an attorney and stand up for your rights in the workplace.
A good employment attorney can help you understand what rights you may be signing away in your severance agreement.
Employment Lawyer in Oakland
At Hunter Pyle Law, our firm works hard to help workers understand their rights in the workplace. We regularly negotiate employment agreements, including executive level agreements, trade secret agreements, non-solicitation agreements, and non-compete agreements.
We are also here to help clients resolve employment disputes that may arise after employment is terminated. If you have questions about this type of service or are looking for advice about your severance agreement, please feel free to contact us today.