Why You Should Hire a Lawyer to Review Your Severance Package
A severance package is an agreement that includes benefits, compensation, and contractual agreements between an employee who is being terminated and their employer. Severance packages can be extremely beneficial for you when your employment ceases. However, a bad severance package can be harmful and limit your potential employment opportunities in the future.
My law firm in Allen, TX, provides severance package reviews to ensure your agreement is fair and will not hinder your future opportunities. You may be wondering about the advantages of hiring a lawyer to review your severance package. Let's cover this issue and related matters below.
What Are the Benefits of Hiring a Severance Attorney?
While you may think you can determine if your severance is fair, it is often best to have an employment attorney look it over.
1. A Lawyer Can Ensure the Legitimacy and Legality of Your Severance Package
Some employers will attempt to get you to agree to something that is not legal in the state. While these things may not be enforceable, it can cause trouble for you and additional legal fees to fight. By having a severance attorney on your side, you can rest assured that every part of your severance agreement is legal and enforceable for both you and your employer.
2. A Lawyer Can Ensure Your Compensation Is Sufficient
Your employer may not offer you fair compensation. While not every employer offers poor terms, most are simply looking out for themselves and their bottom line. I consider many aspects when determining if your severance package is appropriate compensation.
3. A Lawyer Can Prevent Hurdles to Future Job Opportunities
Non-competes and other stipulations in a severance package can limit your employment opportunities. An employment attorney can ensure your severance package does not hinder your future employment opportunities.
4. A Lawyer Can Find Out If a Company's Severance Policies Are Consistent
An attorney will examine the company’s policies to ensure that your employer is adhering to severance policies laid out for all employees.
5. A Lawyer Can Ensure You Maximize Your Severance Pay
Without a trained eye, you may lose out on money owed. If you have unused vacation time or any money owed due to expenses, it is important to ensure that these are properly paid before you accept a severance agreement.
6. A Lawyer Can Help Seek a Continuation of Benefits
A lawyer will determine if a continuation of benefits is relevant to your situation. In some cases, benefits like health insurance coverage can temporarily continue, giving you time to find employment and other insurance coverage.
7. A Lawyer Will Get Oral Agreements or Handshake Deals In Writing
While you may be separating from your company on good terms, it is important to remember that oral or "handshake" deals are not legally binding. Everything must be explicitly stated within the contractual agreement you and your employer sign. An attorney will ensure that any oral agreements are specifically stated in the severance agreement.
What Are Some Key Components of a Severance Package That Attorneys Evaluate?
Here are some things I consider when evaluating clients’ severance packages:
While some non-compete agreements are fair to both the employer and employee, not all are legitimate. As an employment lawyer, I can ensure that any non-compete agreements included in a severance are fair and legitimate.
The risks of non-compete agreements are that they can restrict your future employment opportunities and limit what kind of work you can do and who you can work for when you leave your current position or are let go.
Release of Claim
This means you agree not to pursue litigation against your former employer for any reason. An employment attorney like myself can help determine if that release of claim is fair and help negotiate a higher settlement to justify a release of claim on your part.
Other Types of Agreements
Agreements like Non-Disclosure Agreements and Non-Solicitation Agreements are standard components of severance packages. They simply mean you will not disclose company information or do business with former employees or customers. However, I will carefully examine these agreements to ensure they are fair and legitimate according to Texas law.
What Should I Do If I Am Offered a Severance Package?
- Do Not Sign Immediately - You may be pressured to sign the severance agreement as soon as it is handed to you. Your employer may even threaten to withdraw the severance offer if you do not sign immediately. Do not sign it. Tell them you wish to look it over. Often, this pressure indicates that the company will benefit from your immediate agreement, meaning the offer is not fair to you.
- Do Not Say You Have an Attorney - It is often wise to simply say you want to look over the agreement and consider your options. Saying you are having an attorney look over your severance package can often make negotiations more difficult.
- Do Not Bad Mouth Your Employer - Even if you had a terrible experience with your current employer, it is often best to keep quiet until negotiations are settled.
- Contact an Employment Attorney - My team can set up a consultation to discuss your case and your options here in Allen, TX. I can then evaluate if your package is fair and plan a strategy accordingly to ensure the severance package is beneficial and fair to you.
What Are Some Aspects You Consider When Evaluating a Severance Package?
There are many aspects of severance packages that I look at when determining if it is fair and beneficial. Each client is different and each circumstance is different. Factors I consider when determining if your severance agreement is fair include:
- Your position at the company
- Your time with the company
- Your overall value to the company as an employee
What If My Company Refuses Severance Package Negotiations?
If your company refuses negotiations, I can discuss litigation with you.
Most companies want to avoid litigation, and most are willing to negotiate. This process can be tedious and daunting to an individual. An employment attorney like myself is not afraid to stand up to big corporations. I have helped countless clients pursue lawsuits against Fortune 500 companies.
My priority is to ensure my clients receive just and fair compensation.
Can I Afford a Severance Attorney?
I work on an hourly fee when simply reviewing your severance package documents and contracts. However, if negotiations with your employer are needed, I work on a contingency basis. This means I do not collect any legal fees unless you receive a satisfactory severance package.
During your consultation, I will explain how this will work. In the long run, the benefit of having an experienced employment attorney on your side is invaluable.
Need a Lawyer to Review Your Severance Package?
Request a Consultation Today
Have you been offered a severance package? Even if you think it is fair, you have everything to gain by having a severance attorney review your package. I will ensure you are a priority and that your best interests are being served. Contact my law firm in Allen, TX. My office is conveniently located to also serve Plano and Frisco, TX, to help ensure companies and big corporations treat you fairly.
Dan A. Atkerson
Dan A. Atkerson has worked as a civil employment law attorney in DFW since 1984. He has extensive knowledge of state and federal labor statutes and is a member of both the State Bar of Texas and the Dallas Bar Association.