Greenville’s Lawyer for Negotiation of Severance Packages
Severance agreements are a type of contract that South Carolina employees are often asked to sign at the end of their employment. Because of the nature of this type of contract, a South Carolina employee should always seek to have the severance agreement reviewed by an employment lawyer.
So what are severance agreements? Well, these contracts provide for a payment of money to the employee (severance pay) in exchange for the employee agreeing to not sue the company for anything at all. Companies do not typically provide severance out of the goodness of their cold, corporate hearts. Rather, the companies seek to protect themselves from legal liability by paying you money on the front end.
The types of claims that an employee releases and gives up through signing a severance agreement include the following:
- Discrimination and harassment claims based on age, race, sex, national origin, disability, or religion
- Retaliation claims (being fired for complaining about discrimination)
- Unpaid wages (paychecks, bonuses, or accrued vacation time)
- Breach of an employment contract
- Unpaid overtime or minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act
- Violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act
Key features to look for in a severance agreement include a confidentiality or non-disclosure provision, which is related to company documents that you may have had access to while an employee. Employees often include a non-disparagement provision that limits what the employee can say about the company. And, if the employee breaches any of these new contractual obligations, then the company has likely included an attorney’s fee provision, which means that if they sue the employee for alleged breach of the contract, then the employee could end up having to pay for the company’s lawyers as well.
These types of pitfalls are why an employee should always have a severance agreement reviewed by a South Carolina employment lawyer with experience in reviewing and negotiating severance agreements. Often, a review of the agreement and the employee’s termination reveals other legal claims that the employee may have and that can be used as leverage to negotiate a more fair and equitable severance payment. The strength and value of any legal claim is fact-specific and generally requires a consultation, but that sort of review can increase the amount of severance you will receive and will ensure that you understand all of your legal rights before entering into that contract.
Signing any contract has consequences, so don’t go into this process without reviewing all of your legal options first. Contact the Horton Law Firm’s employment attorneys for a review of your severance agreement.
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