10 Reasons to Hire an Employment Lawyer to Review a Severance Package
There is generally no requirement to sign a release in order to receive payments to which an employee is already entitled, whether pursuant to statute, contract and/or company policy.
1. The Severance Payment
There is generally no requirement to sign a Release in order to receive payments to which an employee is already entitled, whether pursuant to statute, contract and/or company policy. If an employer requires an employee to sign a Release, an Employment lawyer can try to negotiate a higher severance payment.
2. Employee Benefits
Every severance agreement ought to explain the benefits to which an employee is and is not entitled once the employment relationship ends.
3. Money the Employer Owes
A severance agreement should outline money, other than severance payments, to which a departing employee is entitled such as bonuses, vacation pay, overtime etc...A date upon which this payment is to be made should be included in any severance agreement.
4. Release of Claims
Employers usually want employees to sign a release to release all legal claims against the Employer. An Employment lawyer knows what items can be released and what should not be released. For example, an employee does not have to sign a release for payments to which he or she is already entitled.
5. Non-Disparagement and References
Generally speaking, many agreements include a provision prohibiting an employee from disparaging the reputation of the employer. An employment lawyer may negotiate a reciprocal prohibition. Further, a lawyer can negotiate how references will be handled and what information can and cannot be provided to potential employers.
6. Integration Clauses
A hand shake or verbal promise won't do. If it's part of the agreement, incorporate it in writing into the severance agreement.
7. Restrictive Covenants
Many employees are bound by non-competition and non-solicitation agreements. An Employment Lawyer can ensure that the severance agreement does not expand the restrictions. If the employee has not entered into these agreements, then an employment lawyer can ensure that the restrictions are reasonable in scope, duration and time.
8. Proprietary Information
Employers usually include provisions to prevent an employee from using or disclosing proprietary information. An employment lawyer can review and explain the meaning of this obligation and may sometimes negotiate terms to enable an employee to use some information that may be valuable in future employment or business i.e. performance evaluations.
9. Confidential Information
Employers usually prohibit employees for disclosing severance terms. An employment lawyer can negotiate terms that permit an employee to disclose severance terms to certain people in certain circumstances such as spouses, immediate family, tax and financial advisors, legal Counsel, as required by law.
Employers sometimes require employees to cooperate in investigations or legal proceedings. An employment lawyer can assist by incorporating restrictions on the extent of cooperation and the cost of attending.