Severance Agreement Review & Representation
As an employee, you may find yourself in sudden need of legal assistance after your employer unexpectedly terminates your employment and provides a severance agreement.
Understanding the proposed severance agreement is crucial. Accepting and executing a severance agreement without a legal review may burden you with considerable obligations, including such provisions as non-competition, non-solicitation, non-disparagement, non-disclosure, geographic employment limitations and much more.
The employment lawyers at Potomac Legal Group specialize in reviewing severance agreements and negotiating severance packages, including severance pay, health benefits, stock options and equity or partnership issues.
You may not realize at the time of signing the severance agreement that its obligations could prevent your future ability to work in your field, and your use of professional knowledge may become contractually limited. You may also have compensation or equity disputes that are not reflected in the severance pay offer.
Employers write severance agreements to protect themselves. Without an attorney examining your employer’s treatment of you and the underlying reasons for the separation, you may forfeit your opportunity to negotiate a severance package that protects and compensates you.
Requesting a Severance Agreement Review
Our attorneys are prepared to schedule severance agreement reviews at any time and on short notice. Should you face a fast approaching severance agreement deadline, you may contact Potomac Legal Group immediately to schedule your review and consultation.
Severance agreements include deadlines that you should never ignore. The amount of time that you have to contact a lawyer to conduct your severance agreement review may be governed by Federal law:
- Employees age 40 and over must have a minimum of 21 days to consider a proposed severance agreement.
- Employees age 40 and over receive seven days to rescind the severance agreement after execution.
- Employees under age 40 don’t receive a statutory review period; however, the agreement must be accepted “knowingly and voluntarily,” and employers often provide some amount of time. It’s important to look for that written deadline in your agreement.
The Firm suggests contacting us to schedule a review immediately upon receiving a severance agreement. After scheduling your review, you will need to submit your severance agreement. It’s helpful to submit all relevant employment documents, which may include an employment contract, non-disclosure and non-compete agreements, performance reviews, compensation plan and any employer correspondence about your termination.
Who Should Contact the Firm?
Our employment attorneys assist severance agreement clients from every profession and industry. Our attorneys have extensive experience in reviewing and negotiating severance agreements for executives, skilled professionals, managers, administrative staff, technical experts, scientists, association staff, start-up employees, salespeople and doctors and medical providers.
The Firm has experience in reviewing severance agreements from employers and businesses of every size, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, public, private and non-profit entities, as well as professional firms, government contractors, startups, trade associations, embassies and government.
Any employee who receives a severance agreement should contact the Firm to schedule a legal review to understand their rights and severance pay.
The Severance Agreement Review
Severance agreements are complex documents that affect your rights and ability to work. Our employment lawyers conduct a complete severance agreement review, and we address your concerns about the agreement. While every severance agreement is different, the key parts of an agreement include:
- Covered Period: How long will the severance agreement obligations affect you?
- Legal Rights Relinquished: Which rights to pursue claims are you giving up? Are you entitled to pursuing any damages now?
- Non-Disclosure & Confidential Information: What information must you never disclose or use in your future employment? Who owns any intellectual property?
- Non-Disparagement & Social Media: How must you protect the employer’s reputation? Can you participate in any social media?
- Non-Compete & Geographic Limitations: Where are you allowed to land your next job? Can you take any clients or customers with you?
- Recruitment: Are you permitted to take your staff or tell co-workers about your new employer?
- Data & Equipment: How must you handle your employer’s data, computer and devices?
- Duty to Defend & Legal Fees: Are you promising to help the employer defend itself in legal claims? Will you be responsible for the employer’s legal fees?
- Severance Pay, Benefits & Equity: Are you receiving reasonable consideration for executing the severance agreement?
- Liquidated Damages: Will you have to return severance pay due to an alleged breach of the severance agreement?
Our lawyers remain informed on changes in severance agreement trends and employment law. Lawyers who represent employers and write severance agreements are consistently innovating new severance obligations to burden employees. We are aware of these trends and assist employees in understanding and negotiating severance terms.
Negotiating Severance Agreements
The employment attorneys at Potomac Legal Group will fully review your employment experience and provide you an assessment that will help you determine whether you should negotiate the agreement. Severance negotiations are common, and employees may retain Potomac Legal Group to represent them in negotiating changes related to provisions or compensation.
By reviewing the entirety of your employment experience, agreements and performance reviews, as well as the reasons for the separation, our employment attorneys seek to refine the legal basis for negotiating changes to your severance agreement. A complete employment review may also uncover a legal basis for negotiating your severance package due to discriminatory treatment. An employer may create a performance-based pretext to terminate an employee in order to mask discriminatory conduct.
Knowledge of disparate treatment may also provide a basis to negotiate a severance agreement. If you were treated differently than another employee covered by law, then you may have a legal argument and leverage in negotiating your severance package. The length of your employment and performance consistency may also be beneficial in seeking a better severance package.
Compensation, stock and ownership disputes frequently arise during termination. Executives, professional salespeople and equity employees often have complicated compensation packages or contracts with provisions that employers may attempt to use in disqualifying an employee from receiving commission or separation pay.
Equity matters are generally complex, and many employees discover that employers often seek to cancel or acquire their ownership interests or options. Legal assistance is essential in understanding and negotiating these compensation issues. Our employment attorneys are experienced in guiding employees through these complicated matters.
Schedule Your Severance Review
Contact Potomac Legal Group to schedule a severance agreement review or to discuss severance negotiation or rescission. Our experienced employment attorneys are available to schedule your severance agreement review, or to answer any questions you have about your employment matter.