If you get laid off or fired from a job, a severance package can provide the much needed financial cushion against the face of unemployment. Some employers offer severance packages without any conditions. However, the packages often come with some strings attached, usually meant to favor the employer.
Typical conditions that a severance package may come with include:
- Promising not to divulge confidential information
- Giving up the right to sue the employer for illegal conduct
- Agreeing not to compete with the employer by working with a competing firm
- Agreeing not to work in the same industry for a select period of time
Before you accept a severance package, you should determine whether the amount you have been offered is enough to offset what you will have to give up. This can be a difficult decision to make, and as such, it would be prudent to hire a severance pay lawyer in Arlington, Virginia to help you check the deal.
HKM Employment Attorneys LLP serves clients with severance agreement cases across Northern Virginia, including Alexandria, McLean, Tysons Corner, Fairfax County, and the District of Columbia.
Here are some things you should know before accepting a severance package.
Arlington County’s Anti-Discrimination Law
Most employees use federal law to fight employment discrimination. These laws include the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Virginia state law may also add a layer of protection for residents. For example, the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA) criminalizes the discrimination of employees based on their marital status.
There are even further protections against employee discrimination enacted in Arlington County. For example, the Arlington County Human Rights Ordinance (HRO) also prohibits discrimination of employees based on their sexual orientation.
Negotiating the Terms of a Severance Package
In most cases, the employer will have policies that guide the awarding and execution of a severance package. The policies will generally include how much pay you are entitled to and what benefits might be involved. The terms of the package may also be spelled out in an employment contract. In such a case, the employer will be legally bound to offer severance pay.
However, in some situations, you may be able to negotiate your severance package. An attorney can help you with the negotiation process. Typically, the negotiations will factor the following:
- Number of years that you have worked for the employer
- The size of the company
- Your role or employee level within the company
- Guidelines for the severance package as outlined in your employment contract or the company policy
It is important to hire an experienced Arlington severance package law firm to ensure you walk out with a reasonable deal. Contact HKM Employment Attorneys for legal advice and a free consultation. We can answer your Virginia employment law questions, and explore next steps.