What Is the Purpose of a Severance Agreement?

severance agreement document

If you are resigning or retiring, or even if you are being laid off or terminated, you may be presented with a severance agreement from your employer. With this, it is essential that you fully understand the contents of the agreement before signing. Follow along to find out the purpose of a severance agreement and how a proficient New York employee contract lawyer at Bell Law Group can help ensure that your rights are protected.

What is the purpose of a severance agreement in New York?

To reiterate, you may have to negotiate a severance agreement at the end of your employment relationship. Basically, this is a legal contract between you and your employer which specifies the terms of your separation from employment. It will likely offer you compensation after ending your employment or in preparation for ending your employment so that you can have a monetary buffer while seeking new employment.

With that being said, the main purpose of this agreement is to offer you a financial or professional incentive in exchange for waiving your constitutionally protected rights or any other rights.

What is considered a fair severance agreement in New York?

A common example is, by signing a severance agreement, you may be giving up your right to sue your employer for their negligent actions. With this, you are ultimately giving up your right to receive future compensation that may be far more significant than your small severance package allows for. This is why you must proceed with caution before signing.

So for a severance agreement to be considered fair, it must give you an understood benefit, such as a detailed financial sum. You must also be given an ample amount of time to review it. And if you are 40 years of age or older, federal law, specifically the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act, must give you a 21-day consideration period. And if multiple employees are being terminated at the same time, this consideration period must extend to 45 days.

In what ways can I negotiate my severance agreement?

If you believe that some of the terms in your severance agreement are unreasonable, you must negotiate them. Examples of what you may need to negotiate include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The reasonableness of the financial sum you will receive, when you will receive it, and its tax consequences.
  • The reasonableness of the penalties you will receive for violating the agreement.
  • The reasonableness of which of your claims will be waived.
  • The reasonableness of the confidentiality terms of the agreement.
  • The reasonableness of your opportunity for being re-hired.
  • The reasonableness of your opportunity for receiving reference letters.

Every employee rights case is different. But regardless, you should not go into negotiations without a talented New York employee rights lawyer by your side. We will help you understand the terms of your agreement and what rights you will be waived, so pick up the phone and give us a call today.

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