Severance agreements can take many forms and often put added pressure on an employee to agree to unclear or unwarranted terms. If you’ve just lost your job, take a close look at your severance agreement.
Severance packages are written to be a legally binding agreement between the employee and the employer. Sometimes they exist purely to legally disconnect an employer-employee relationship and prevent future wrongful termination lawsuits. They are often also mandated to allow an employee to collect severance pay post-termination.
Employers will often include terms that benefit themselves. Luckily, California employment law allows you to take a closer look in case you need to pursue legal action.
Should I Have a Lawyer Look at My Severance Agreement?
If you have any concerns about the language used in your separation agreement or have a conflicting viewpoint about how it was written, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion. Contact an employment lawyer if your termination is based in any way on:
- Sexual harassment
- Limitation of employee rights (including but not limited to health insurance, unused vacation, stock options)
Don’t let an employer pressure you into signing a severance agreement on their timeline. An employer cannot force employees to sign one on the spot, and must allow you the time and freedom to review the documentation yourself and pursue legal options.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me with Severance Negotiations?
If you’re making a claim against a company and/or negotiating the terms of a severance agreement, getting legal advice from an experienced employment lawyer may be invaluable for you. A lawyer can help you navigate and justify your rights as an employee, especially if you have reason to believe you are unfairly terminated.
Law offices will also act as an intermediary between you and your employer. Having that attorney-client relationship will remove you from stressful interactions, as well as provide you with privacy protection.
Can I Sue If I Didn’t Receive Severance Pay?
Have your lawyer carefully review your agreement’s terms, including any non-competes and employment contracts you’ve signed along the way. They will be best able to determine whether a lawsuit will benefit you if you didn’t receive severance pay or are being offered less than you deserve.
Having a lawyer puts you in the position of being able to calculate and present more-informed counteroffers or structure lawsuits without the pressure of having to confront former colleagues.
How Do You Calculate Severance Pay?
Severance pay can vary based on terms of employment and your salary. One of the most common ways it is calculated is by multiplying your weekly rate by the number of years you were employed with the company.
Say you worked at a company for 10 years and earned $80,000/year (or $1,538/week). You would commonly be eligible for $15,385 in severance pay.
Contact HKM Today
HKM Employment Attorneys is a law firm of experienced attorneys practicing labor and employment law in San Diego. Attorneys work to ensure clients get equal treatment and compensation per federal and local employment laws. Call HKM Employment Attorneys to:
- Review a separation agreement
- Explore whether any employment matter is a legal issue worth pursuing
- Learn more about your rights as an employee in California.
We have experience representing clients in all areas of employment, with expert familiarity on both local and federal laws like:
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- Matters concerning national origin or the Civil Rights Act (CRA)
Our employment law attorneys will be a strategic partner in helping you to handle all the legal aspects of your employment. We have offices in San Diego to help employees in San Diego County and across Southern California. Contact us today for a consultation.