Representing Clients Who Have Received Severance Offers
Many people who have dedicated years of loyal service to a company and feel secure in their jobs suddenly learn that they are being let go. Often, a company will accompany such a termination with a severance offer, which can provide payments and benefits for a certain period of time. While a severance agreement may seem generous at first, many of these offers are used to take advantage of loyal employees.
Before you ever sign a severance agreement—or any type of employment-related contract—you should always hire an experienced New York City employment attorney to review the terms of the agreement. At Braverman Law PC, we can identify when the terms are not necessarily in your favor and will work to negotiate a fair agreement whenever possible. We can also advise you when signing a severance agreement may not serve your best interests at all. Please call today to discuss the offer that’s been put on the table in your situation.
Reviewing Existing Employment Agreements
When you initially began your employment, you may have signed an employment contract that specifically addressed your rights to certain severance pay and benefits. Even if you did not sign a written contract, your employer may have made verbal promises or an employee handbook may indicate that offered certain severance if you were let go. One of the first steps we take is to examine your employment relationship to determine whether you were promised more than your employer is currently offering you.
Too many employers hope that employees will forget about prior promises or agreements and will simply take what they can get if they are losing their jobs. Our New York City employment lawyer can identify when a severance offer constitutes a breach of a prior agreement and can stand up for your rights under that previous agreement.
Negotiating Favorable Terms
Even in the absence of a prior promise of certain severance, a lawyer may still negotiate with your employer to reach the most favorable severance terms possible. Sometimes, an employer will expect you to focus on the aspect of severance pay and sign an agreement without noticing certain unfavorable terms, such as a non-compete provision. Such clauses can significantly limit your ability to seek work in your field for a period of time and you do not want to realize you’ve accepted such restrictions when it is already too late and you have signed the agreement.
Instead, always carefully review any offer with a knowledgeable severance attorney for any potentially harmful terms. Then, your attorney can negotiate with your employer to remove any adverse terms so the agreement is as favorable as possible for you. Severance packages should benefit and not harm you. Unfortunately, without a thorough understanding of contract law and employment law, unfavorable provisions can prove difficult to identify.
At Braverman Law PC, we regularly review and negotiate favorable severance agreements for our clients. If you received an offer, please call us before you agree to anything.
Were You the Victim of Unlawful Discrimination?
Too often, severance offers are used to placate—or perhaps distract—employees for how their employers unlawfully discriminated against them. Take the following example:
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits any workplace discrimination against employees who are older than 40. You began working for your employer when you turned 26 and have worked there for 25 years. Because of your tenure and seniority, your salary has increased over the years and you plan to stay with this company until you retire.
Your boss comes up to you and informs you that due to internal reorganization, your employer is eliminating your position and letting you go. You are offered a severance agreement that offers you certain payment in exchange for waiving your right to take any legal action against the company regarding your termination.
You later hear from a coworker that another—much younger—person was actually hired to replace you. This person demands a much lower salary than you did and does not have the skills that you had to perform the job. Upon review of the situation, Braverman Law PC determines that you were probably the victim of unlawful age discrimination in violation of the ADEA. Therefore, you may want to seek compensation for such discrimination through legal action instead of signing the severance agreement.
Companies want employees to waive their rights to legal action after a wrongful termination, and a severance agreement is a popular tactic to achieve this. Our law firm, however, will identify when your best interests demand that you exercise your legal rights against unlawful actions instead of agreeing to a severance package.
Handling Additional Severance-Related Issues
When you lose your job, you may need to address many additional issues. Our office can assist you with such matters, including:
- Ensuring you receive your final paycheck, including all commissions and bonuses you have earned
- Addressing how the termination affects pension and retirement accounts
- Ensuring you have extended health coverage if needed
No one wants to hear the news that employment is ending. However, if you served as an at will employee, companies do have the right to terminate you for any lawful reason at any time. It is always wise to know where to turn should you suddenly receive a severance agreement. Handling this matter in the right way can help protect you and your family while you find a new position.
A New York Employment Lawyer Is Here to Protect Your Rights
Braverman Law PC helps employees with all matters related to employment, from unpaid wages to severance agreements to wrongful termination claims. We regularly review severance agreements and all types of employment contracts to ensure that our clients do not sign anything against their best interests. If you want to discuss a severance offer or any other employment law matter, please call (212) 206-8166 or contact us online today.