Severance agreements are very common contracts that employers offer to employees at the end of one’s employment–typically as a result of a termination, resignation or reduction in force. Severance agreements are contracts that usually have terms that are very favorable to employers and may not be favorable to employees. These terms include a release of claims (basically an agreement not to sue the company), confidentiality and/or non-disparagement agreements, non-compete agreements or other restrictive covenants, and even include liquidated damages provisions for violating the agreement.
In exchange for the many things employers ask employees to give up, a severance agreement typically includes a lump sum payment to the employee in exchange for signing the agreement. A severance agreement is usually offered on a take-it-or-leave it basis, and most employees do not attempt to negotiate severance agreements. That is a mistake. At the very least, an employee should know what rights they are giving up before signing an agreement, and in most cases negotiating a severance package results in a more favorable overall package for an employee than if she or he did not negotiate any modifications to the contract. An employee may also have a strong claim for wrongful termination, discrimination or retaliation (or another type of legal claim) that they would lose by signing a severance agreement.
Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel lawyers are very experienced in negotiating all types of severance agreements. If you have been offered a severance, or if you have been terminated but were not offered any severance, contact Teske Katz Kitzer & Rochel today to assess your options.