Why You Should Hire a Lawyer to Review Your Severance Agreement

 

Why You Should Hire a Lawyer to Review Your Severance Agreement

Severance agreements have the potential to be worth a lot of money; however, they also have the ability to prevent success in future jobs because of restrictions on competition and use of certain information. This is why hiring a lawyer to review your severance agreement can certainly work in your favor. Although hiring a lawyer to review your severance package is not a necessity, it can help you a lot in the long run before you decide to sign that dotted line.

Aside from the actual value of the severance package, there are several factors in these agreements that employees should be aware of. When you have a severance pay lawyer on your side, he or she will be able to negotiate, rewrite, or remove certain factors that wouldn’t work in your favor. If your employer does not want to budge, then your attorney can obtain additional compensation in exchange for it. Below you will find the most common examples that an employee should have their attorney review.

The Severance Payment: Sometimes employees may already be entitled to receive a severance payment, whether it is an employment contract or company policy. If this is the case, then you will not need to sign a severance agreement to obtain that money. Your attorney will be able to ensure that if the employee does sign an agreement, then the employee will receive more than the severance payment that he or she was initially entitled to. Additionally, an experienced Los Angeles severance pay lawyer should have a good idea as to what the amount of severance the employer is offering is sufficient enough when considering the industry and/or profession of the particular client.

  1. Employer Owes Money to Employee: The employer must pay the employee for unused vacation time and must reimburse expenses even if a severance agreement was signed. If the parties do agree to sign one, then it must include the date that the employer must pay what he or she owes the employee.
  2. Employee Benefits: A severance package must thoroughly explain what the employee will be receiving in benefits upon separating from the employer. For example, this can include a continuation of healthcare coverage.
  3. Release of Claims: Many employers want severance agreements to release legal claims against the employer by the employee. When this happens, a lawyer can make adjustments and fight to make the release more fair and balanced so the employer releases claims it may have against the employee.
  4. Non-Disparagement and References: Severance agreements often include barring certain factors, such as ensuring that the employee does not disparage the former employer. By hiring a lawyer, he or she can negotiate for a similar clause, which may be disparaging against the employee. Additionally, the attorney will be able to negotiate with the employer about references for future employers.
  5. Integration Clauses: An oral promise is not considered legally binding unless it is written down in the severance agreement that both parties sign. Your lawyer will make sure that all the employer’s promises are legally binding so everything you agreed upon is honored.
  6. Proprietary Information: Severance agreements are often used to prevent employees from using any proprietary information within their future line of work. Your lawyer will be able to negotiate with the employer that will allow the employee to use certain information that is valuable and can be used in the future.
  7. Restrictive Factors: A lawyer will be able to limit certain restrictive covenants, such as prohibiting the employee from working with a competing company.
  8. Confidential Information: When it comes to severance agreements, often times, employers want their terms to be confidential. However, your lawyer can create exceptions to allow the employee to inform immediate family members, lawyers, accountants, and tax advisors of the terms. Additionally, your lawyer will also be able to make an exception in the case of a subpoena.
  9. Cooperation Clauses: Many employers include cooperation provisions in their severance agreements, which means that the employee must cooperate in any legal proceedings involving the employer. However, your severance pay lawyer will be able to negotiate that from “full” cooperation to a “reasonable” amount of cooperation.

Overall, severance packages have several hidden clauses and can be extremely challenging to navigate, which is why you should give us a call at Mann & Elias so you get the legal help you need from our team of trusted severance package lawyers.

If you are interested in speaking to a lawyer about your severance agreement, do not hesitate to reach out to us any time and our employment lawyers will get you the help you need every step of the way.