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Being let go is never an easy experience. If your employer has offered you a severance package, you are probably eager to accept it and get some compensation to help you during the transition. Before you do, make sure you understand the agreement and the legal rights you are giving up when you sign it.
The following are answers to some of the most common questions a San Diego severance agreement lawyer gets. If you have more questions about your case, contact us today for a free consultation.
In most cases, a California employer is not required to provide severance. There are some exceptions, such as if they agreed to provide severance in the employment agreement. The larger your employer, the more likely they will offer you a severance package.
Yes, it is generally advisable to have a severance package lawyer review your severance agreement before you sign it. This is especially important if you believe you have been subject to illegal conduct in the workplace, such as employment discrimination, retaliation, disability discrimination, wrongful termination, or leave violations.
Review is especially important in these situations since most severance agreements ask you to voluntarily give up your claims against your employer in exchange for the severance pay. You don’t want to accept severance pay that is tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars less than you could receive by instead pursuing your claim. Additionally, some provisions of the agreement may unenforceable. For example, some claims cannot be waived.
There is a lot of nuance to severance agreements. An experienced San Diego severance law firm can help you evaluate your specific situation.
The best starting point is to read and understand your severance agreement. After review, identify the terms that you would like to change or add. Financial compensation is typically the most negotiated, but other terms such as benefits and re-employment assistance are crucial too. For example, if your employer terminated you for your performance, getting them to agree to only provide certain information when called as a reference can be the key to getting a new job quickly.
Once you identify the changes you want, make a counteroffer to your employer with your proposals. Then continue written and in-person (or phone) negotiations until you reach a consensus.
A lawyer can help you negotiate. Many employers take negotiations more seriously and bring better offers when there is a lawyer on the other side. Additionally, lawyers are trained negotiators—and our lawyers at Gomez Trial Attorneys are not afraid to fight hard for our clients.
An employment law attorney in your area is usually the best type of attorney to review your severance agreement. For example, if you were employed in San Diego, California you would want a San Diego lawyer to review your agreement.
The most common formula for determining financial compensation is to multiply your weekly pay by one or two times the number of years of service. For example:
If you had a salary of $52,000, your weekly pay equates to $1,000/week. If you worked for the company for 10 years, you would multiply 10 x $1,000, and the severance would be $10,000. Or, if a two-times multiplier is used, you would receive $20,000.
In addition, common non-financial severance package benefits include insurance benefits, uncontested unemployment application, new job placement assistance, and serving as a reference for future employers.
Just because these amounts and benefits are common does not mean that this is the amount you will be offered. The decision of what to offer rests in your employer’s hands.
Of course, it is worth attempting to negotiate to get a fair offer. What is “fair” depends on many factors, including your length of service, employers’ size, the reason for termination, employers’ ability to pay, and what non-financial benefits are offered.
Gomez Trial Attorneys is one of San Diego’s most well-known and respected law firms, and for good reason. We have obtained hundreds of millions of dollars of settlements and verdicts we’ve obtained for our clients.
Our experienced employment law attorneys can help you with your employment law-related issues, such as severance agreement review, wrongful termination, discrimination, and disability accommodations.
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