Severance pay may be offered to you upon termination of your employment, though your employer does not necessarily have any legal obligation to do so. Oregon does not require employers to offer severance pay to the employees they terminate, but does require employers to abide by their companies’ established wage policies – or specific employment contracts that have entered into with individual employees – that deal with severance pay.
A severance payment may be given to you as a reward for your service at the company, but is more often due to an employer seeking to protect the firm from certain actions you may take following your employment. Your employer may not want you to be able to take legal action against the company, or may want to protect some sort of sensitive business information; providing a severance payout is sometimes a way of protecting the employer’s legal or business interests.
As a result, the severance pay is rarely provided on its own; often it comes as a package with a separation agreement, which outlines the agreements governing your future actions. These restrictions on your post-employment activities may include the inability to file suit of any kind against your former employer, or complaints with regulatory agencies. You may be prevented from taking certain data with you – such as trade secrets or business strategies – or competing with the company, or even working for a competitor.
As the restrictions imposed on your life can be far-reaching, a Portland employment law attorney should always be consulted before you enter into such an agreement. While the severance pay offered can be tempting, signing an agreement without legal advice can cause you great hardship, limit your employment options, and encroach on your individual rights. The legal team at HKM Employment Attorneys has extensive experience in these matters and we can help to negotiate an agreement in keeping with your best interests. If you have not been offered a severance package, we can help you pursue one, and if you believe that an agreement you have already signed is unfair or against public policy, we may be able to help you challenge it.
Employment Lawyer Serving Oregon
Our firm represents companies as well as individuals and can advise your firm on how best to approach severance packages in order to protect your business. It is important for employers to be careful in construction the separation agreements that may accompany a severance package. As we noted earlier, some separation agreements can work to severely limit a former employee’s future employment options. For this reason, Oregon courts do not always look kindly on such provisions – for example, overly restrictive non-compete clauses or overly broad non-disclosure agreements – in separation agreements. Having an attorney who can help you carefully construct an agreement, as well as negotiate a reasonable severance package – can make an enormous difference in smoothly transitioning out of an employment relationship with a former employee.
Each instance may have its own peculiarities and we can provide a unique evaluation whenever you need legal guidance. Our clients include government agencies and Fortune 500 companies as well as smaller firms and we represent each with full commitment to their interests and goals. Our focus on employment law allows us a broad understanding of all factors involved and the ability to determine effective solutions.
For help evaluating and negotiating severance packages as an employee or employer, contact a Portland employment lawyer at HKM.