A severance agreement – sometimes also referred to as a settlement agreement – is a legally binding contract between an employer and an employee. It outlines the terms and conditions of the employee’s termination or departure from the company. It’s typically offered by employers when an employee is terminated, laid off, or retiring.
If you have been terminated and if your employer may ask you to sign a severance agreement, it’s important to consult with an experienced New York severance agreement lawyer before you sign it. At Levine & Blit, we have a team of highly knowledgeable and experienced New York employment law attorneys who can review your severance agreement, negotiate better terms, and challenge unlawful or unenforceable clauses if necessary to protect your rights as an employee and make sure you get the benefits you are entitled to. Contact us today to talk to one of our New York severance agreement attorneys.
What is the Purpose of a Severance Agreement and What Kind of Terms Does It Include?
The primary purpose of a severance agreement is to protect the employer from potential lawsuits by the employee. The employers may provide monetary compensation and certain other benefits to the employee as part of severance packages in exchange for their agreement not to sue them.
Severance agreements in New York generally include several terms or clauses including:
It’s a lump sum or structured payment made to you upon your termination. The amount of severance pay as part of severance benefits usually depends on your role in the company, length of employment, and several other factors.
Continuation of Benefits
It’s a clause under which your employer might offer to continue health insurance, dental insurance, and other benefits for a specific period under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) or other similar programs.
It’s a clause that prevents the employee from working for their employer’s competitor or starting a similar business within a specific geographic area and time frame.
Release of Claims
It’s the most important clause in a severance agreement. It requires you to agree not to take any kind of legal action against your employer for any reason related to your employment or termination.
It’s a clause that requires you to keep certain information about the company and its clients confidential even after leaving the company.
Importance of Legal Counsel before Signing Severance Agreement
It’s critical for you to consult with a seasoned New York employment law attorney before signing a severance agreement. Here is how the dedicated employment law attorneys at Levine & Blit can help you with a severance agreement.
Understanding Legal Jargon – Severance agreements contain complex legal terminology that you might not understand. We can explain the terms and conditions to you in plain language and make sure you know exactly what you are agreeing to.
Protecting Rights – We can assess the terms of your severance agreement and determine whether they are fair and compliant with applicable state and federal employment laws and regulations.
Ensuring Full Benefits – As an employee (or former employee), you might not be aware of the benefits you might be entitled to upon termination. We can review the agreement and make sure you receive all the benefits (monetary and otherwise) you are entitled to.
Waiver of Rights – Severance agreements often include a release of claims, which requires you to give up your right to sue your employer for any employment or termination-related reason. We can review this clause and determine whether the scope of the release is too broad and negotiate with your employer to narrow it down and protect your rights.
Challenging Unlawful Clauses – If the agreement contains clauses that are illegal under state or federal law or unenforceable, we may be able to challenge these clauses and work to have them modified or removed.
Avoiding Future Disputes – By having an attorney review the agreement, you can reduce the likelihood of future disputes with your employer. We can ensure that the agreement is comprehensive and leaves no room for misinterpretation, which can minimize the risk of disagreements and disputes down the line.
How the Experienced New York Severance Agreement Lawyers at Levine & Blit Can Negotiate a Better Severance Package for You
- We can review the severance agreement, understand the full scope of what is being offered, and identify clauses or areas that are negotiable. These might include your severance pay, continuation of medical insurance benefits, non-compete clauses, and more.
- We can present the case for a more favorable package based on your qualifications and track record. We can negotiate with your employer for a higher severance payment or certain other benefits based on your length of employment, your performance track record, or any other specific circumstances.
- We can leverage their knowledge of state and federal employment laws and industry standards to ask for a more favorable severance package. We can cite legal precedents or industry norms to strengthen your negotiation position.
- If your employer raises concerns or counters your demands, which they almost certainly will, we can address the arguments, counter them with facts, and negotiate assertively to get the best possible deal from your employer.
- We can also draft counteroffers or amendments to the severance agreement to provide a clear picture of what you expect from your employer.
👉Also read: 4 Ways To Prove Wrongful Termination
Legal Help is Available from Our Proven and Experienced New York Severance Agreement Attorneys
Signing a severance agreement is a major decision that you need to make only after consulting with an experienced employment law attorney. At Levine & Blit, we are dedicated to protecting the rights and defending the interests of employees in New York. We can review your severance agreement, ensure its legal compliance, and negotiate better terms if needed to make sure you get the benefits you deserve. We can also represent you and defend you against accusations of breach of contract by your former employer.
Call us today at 646-461-6838 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our top-rated New York severance agreement lawyers.