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Contracts and Severance Agreements

Severance Negotiations

Any time a severance agreement is handed to you, it likely does not represent your best interests.  All severance agreements contain a release of legal claims — or forfeiting your right to sue.  Your employer will offer you as little as possible, in exchange for that release.

Our firm handles two distinct types of employee severance negotiations.  In either case, it is never wise for you to sign or agree to any severance terms without consulting a lawyer:

  • Your employer is incentivizing you to resign rather than laying you off or otherwise terminating your employment.  You are in good standing and still working at this business that needs you to leave, maybe because of business restructuring, routine layoffs, business losses, etc.  Perhaps you asked for or your employer presented you with a severance deal.
  • You were laid off, or fired for cause because of supposed performance problems.  If you were terminated and presented with a severance agreement, it may be because of a mass layoff, reduction in force, or business restructuring.  Or it could be because of supposed performance problems.  Be particular careful if you are handed a severance agreement after a termination.  If the employer’s justifications were false, you may be the victim of wrongful termination.  Your employer is now concerned that you might sue them because they know you have legitimate legal claims, even if you aren’t sure that you do.  On your way out or immediately following your termination, you are asked to sign a severance agreement.

Working for You in Severance Negotiations

In our experience, it is very rare that the severance agreement is completely non-negotiable.  Our firm identifies the legal claims and puts pressure on your employer to enter a negotiation.  We will fight to secure the greatest possible sum for you with no additional financial risk.

Our firm often works with you on a contingency basis for severance negotiation cases (i.e. you pay no money up front).  Our legal fees are a percentage of the awarded severance.  Employers feel greater risk when threatened with a lawsuit, so companies often willingly increase the severance amount.

The first rule of employment law is that any time you are handed a contract as an employee, it is imperative that a lawyer review it.  Employment contracts create rights and liabilities that drastically alter the employment relationship, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.  It is important that you understand what you are agreeing to, and that you have a chance to protect your best interests and avoid ambiguous or compromising situations that could easily result in disputes leading to litigation.

Whether you are a corporate or finance industry executive, a temporary contractor, or a long-term partner, your contract defines your terms of employment and protocol potentially relating to:

  • Base compensation (salary or hourly rate);
  • Benefits;
  • Commissions;
  • Bonuses;
  • Deferred compensation such as stock plans, equity, or other forms of compensation;
  • Garden leave and contractual severance; and
  • Your right to employment. This means that you cannot be legally fired, unless there is just cause for termination, in exchange for your commitment to fulfill specified duties.

Contact our Firm for Contract Negotiations and Contract Breach Litigations

Get the advice you need up front because a lot is at stake. We offer:

  • Employment or Executive Contract negotiation;
  • Confidential consultation and drafting of employment-related contracts, such as non-solicit agreements, non-compete agreements, confidentiality agreements, and intellectual property or invention agreements; and
  • Prosecution and defense in the event of a contract breach and litigation.

If you are presented with an employment contract, or you wish to negotiate your way out of one, you need lawyers who have the right experience and know how with respect to contract interpretation and protecting your interests.  From executive contracts to freelancers, our firm has that experience, and will respond to your particular needs.

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