Finding an Attorney for a Severance Dispute
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 law firm (with offices in NY and NJ) 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 particularly 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.
Negotiating a Severance Package
In our experience, it is very rare that severance agreements are completely non-negotiable. Our law 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. With offices in New York City and New Jersey, we represent clients throughout the greater NY and NJ area on severance agreements (packages), disputes, negotiations, etc. Contact us today for a free consultation with an employment lawyer.
Our firm often works with you on a contingency basis for negotiation cases with severance agreements (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. This is why 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);
- 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
Questions and Answers:
What is the purpose of a severance agreement?
A severance agreement is a contract between you and your employer that outlines each of your responsibilities and rights when you are terminated from your job.
What does a severance package typically include?
There are several things that a severance package typically includes. In most cases, you should look for terms concerning continuing health coverage, mutual non-disparagement, and references. You want to ensure that if you are agreeing to release your claims against your employer, they are agreeing to do their part as well. As part of any severance payment, you might also seek compensation for any paid time off, vacation pay, or sick leave you accrued during your employment.
How should I negotiate my severance package?
If not reviewed carefully, severance agreements can benefit the employer at the expense of the employee. Because of this, it is a good idea to have your agreement reviewed by an employment attorney before you sign it. They can assist in reviewing your severance agreement, helping you understand its terms, and, if necessary, negotiating the terms with your employer to ensure you are maximizing your benefits. Your first step should be contacting an attorney that specializes in severance packages.
What should I know before signing a severance agreement?
Before signing your severance agreement, you should understand all of your rights and responsibilities. For example, you should understand whether you are releasing any claims against your employer, and whether your employer is releasing claims against you. You should also understand what compensation and benefits you will receive, if any, as part of your severance agreement. Finally, you should review the other terms of the agreement to make sure they are accurate and you are in agreement with them. For help understanding or negotiating your severance agreement, you should consult an employment law attorney.
What is the point of severance pay?
A severance agreement typically includes an employer’s offer of severance pay in exchange for an employee’s release of claims against the employer. Severance pay is typically based on the length of your employment.
Can a severance offer be rescinded?
In most cases, yes, your employer can rescind your severance offer if you do not accept it in the time period the employer allows. This is mainly because your employer is usually not required to offer you severance pay in the first place. If you receive a severance agreement and you are unsure about its terms or whether you should sign it, you should consult an employment attorney as soon as possible.
- 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 severance 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. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free case consultation to discuss your needs in detail by calling (646) 430-7930.
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