When employers lay off employees, they may offer the employee a severance package. A severance package, also called a severance agreement or claims agreement, provides employees with an amount of compensation in exchange for the employee agreeing not to bring a lawsuit against the employer. When employees are offered a severance agreement, they may sign it immediately because they are understandably concerned about their financial future. Unfortunately, not all severance agreements are fair and beneficial for employees.
Cincinnati Attorneys Fighting for Employees’ Severance Rights
If you have been laid off from your job and offered a severance agreement, speaking to an attorney before you sign the agreement is crucial. HKM Employment Attorneys have helped many Cincinnati area employees protect themselves and their rights by reviewing severance agreements and helping them identify red flags that could hurt them in the future. Contact HKM Employment Attorneys today to schedule a case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys.
What is Included in a Severance Agreement?
The amount of compensation offered by the employer will vary, but it usually includes an amount of money based on the length of employment before termination. The severance payment may also include compensation for unused sick days, vacations, and unreimbursed business expenses. Some companies provide placement assistance to help employees find new jobs. Others may consist of life insurance, disability insurance, and health insurance benefits for a specific time frame after the employee is laid off.
The Benefit of Hiring an Employment Attorney
If you have been laid off, speaking to an attorney can be beneficial. Depending on your circumstances, finding a new job may take some time. Negotiating the best severance package possible can help you financially as you move forward. By negotiating a higher severance award, you can take more time to find a job you want to accept instead of rushing due to financial pressure.
At HKM Employment Attorneys, we represent clients in various legal matters, including severance agreements. If you have been laid off and offered a severance agreement, we will carefully review the agreement and help you understand your rights and obligations under the agreement. If the terms and conditions in the agreement are not in your best interest, we will negotiate the agreement based on your needs. If you have yet to be offered a severance package, we will negotiate with your employer to pursue one. Our goal is to negotiate severance agreements that help clients meet their immediate and long-term goals. If you have been asked to sign a non-compete agreement along with your severance agreement, we can also review it and help you negotiate if it is unfair.
Should I Sign a Severance Agreement?
A severance agreement establishes the specific terms an employee will leave a company after being laid off. Many employers offer severance packages as a way to avoid future litigation. Companies may decide that it is a better financial decision to provide employees with compensation instead of risking an expensive lawsuit that could hurt their public image. Signing a severance agreement can be a smart decision for employees who do not have a potential legal claim against their employer. The compensation given to an employee can help them financially as the employee looks for alternative employment.
By Signing a Severance Agreement, Employees Waive Their Right to Sue Their Employer
However, employees should not sign a severance agreement if they have a potential legal claim against an employee. For example, suppose an employee has been laid off for an unlawful purpose, such as discrimination. In that case, the employee may be able to pursue a legal claim against their employer. Ohio employers cannot take adverse action against employees based on their membership in a protected class. Under state and federal law, employees cannot be fired because of their race, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), gender, sexual orientation, veteran status, religion, age (over 40), disability, and other protected classes.
Additionally, employers cannot retaliate against employees for filing a claim against the employer. For example, suppose you have been subjected to a hostile work environment due to sexual harassment. You file a claim with the human resources department stating that you have experienced sexual harassment in detailing the offensive instances. The next day, you receive a notice that you have been laid off. in that case, you may have a right to sue your employer for unlawful retaliation. If you are still determining whether you have a legal claim against your employer, speaking to an attorney can help you understand your rights and decide whether to sign the severance agreement.
Negotiating a Better Severance Agreement in Ohio
Employees often feel they need to sign the severance agreement they have been offered. Just because you have been presented with a severance agreement by your employer does not mean you have to accept it without negotiating the terms. HKM Employment Attorneys can advise you on what the specific terms in your seventh agreement mean and the ramifications of the agreement.
We can negotiate to ensure you receive enough healthcare coverage during the severance period to give you and your family peace of mind while you seek new employment. We may be able to negotiate the dollar amount of your seventh agreement so you receive more compensation. We can also pursue a neutral reference for you from your employer so you can move forward without worrying about explaining why you were laid off.
Schedule a Case Evaluation with a Skilled Attorney
If you have been offered a service agreement, it is important that you understand your rights and obligations under the contract. You can negotiate a better agreement with the help of an experienced attorney. HKM Employment Attorneys can help you negotiate a better severance agreement with additional pay and benefits. Contact HKM Employment Attorneys today to schedule an initial case evaluation and learn more about how we can fight for your rights.