Negotiating Contracts of Employment or Severance
While few Minnesota employees are in a position to negotiate specific contract terms with an employer, the opportunity to do so is a valuable one.
If you need advice about employment agreements, the enforcement of severance terms or restrictive covenants, or the negotiation of a severance package in layoff or workplace dispute situations, contact an experienced employment lawyer at Schaefer Halleen, LLC, in Minneapolis.
We negotiate and review executive and professional employment contracts
Comprehensive employment contracts for executives, managers, professionals or partners in small practice groups can achieve several essential objectives: defining the terms of compensation under various performance scenarios and the terms of departure for cause, without cause or upon changes in ownership or management.
Our job is to help you identify the interests you need to protect on matters ranging from bonuses to severance pay and non-compete commitments. Once your needs and objectives are in clear focus, we can then go to work to protect them to the greatest extent possible in focused negotiations. One essential goal is to make sure that the severance terms and restrictive covenants that protect your interests will stand up in court upon termination or resignation.
Call 612-294-2600 to discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer.
The Client: Terminated Vice President of Financial Company
Problem: Denied bonus and severance due to alleged “for cause” termination because of poor investment track record.
Approach: Larry Schaefer litigated claim through jury trial and appeal, demonstrating that “for cause” cannot be established based on investment results beyond client’s control.
Solution: Achieve jury verdict in excess of $500,000, upheld on appeal, while establishing the leading Minnesota case authority interpreting what constitutes “for cause” termination in the employment setting.
The Client: Senior Human Resources executive with a large consulting firm.
Problem: Was denied promotion to head of HR after being promised the job.
Approach: Sent proposal letter to company and later filed EEOC Charge and engaged in mediation.
Solution: Obtained more than a year’s severance pay for client.
The Client: Entire Executive Team (consisting of seventeen members) of litigation services company
Problem: Compensation and bonus system not honored due to actions of parent company, at cost of over $5,000,000 to this group, with permanent changes planned.
Approach: Larry Schaefer engaged executives at parent company directly on behalf of group, demonstrating breach of past obligations and intent of executive team to initiate litigation if necessary, with vast exposure to company.
Solution: Parent company Board elects to reverse course, overturns prior breach, restore compensation and bonus potential to past levels, and compensate every member of team to full measure of loss in the past.
The Client: CEO of US subsidiary of International Corporation.
Problem: Client is facing notice of termination for claimed cause and little severance and forfeiture of stock options.
Approach: Larry Schaefer engaged directly with General Counsel and later outside counsel to present detailed factual background and legal analysis of breach of contract and national origin discrimination claims.
Solution: Negotiate severance package which fully restores full severance benefits and stock option retention/exercise rights under existing contract, characterizes separation as voluntary resignation, and substantially limits non-compete/non-solicitation obligations.
The Client: 32 year old executive
Problem: Recently received his MBA and wanted to change companies, but he had a non-compete and obligation to repay tuition benefit.
Approach: Direct negotiation with company.
Solution: Company waived non-compete and tuition reimbursement obligations.
The Client: Experienced saleswomen
Problem: Former employer attempted to enforce non-compete agreements against clients
Approach: Advised clients and new employer in negotiations against former employer; directly negotiated with former employer
Solution: Non-compete dispute resolved; clients allowed to take their books of business to new employer and retain new employment
The Client: Successful electrical lineman who left job for a new opportunity.
Problem: Former employer actively attempted to prevent client from securing employment with competitors.
Approach: Filed lawsuit in state court and aggressively litigated matter, winning all initial motions
Solution: After successfully defeating defendant’s motions to dismiss and to remove matter to federal court, negotiated and secured a substantial monetary settlement for client, including additional contractual agreement by former employer to cease obstructive behavior
Negotiated severance is a valuable tool for resolving employment disputes
While defined severance terms under different circumstances are essential features of a sound employment contract, employees who do not work under negotiated contracts can benefit from a similar approach to severance in cases of layoff or when resignation or termination appear likely outcomes of a troubled job situation.
Severance packages are typically conditioned upon a written release of the right to sue the employer for any claims resulting from layoff, termination or a violation of employee rights that occurred previously. Employers often propose enhanced severance as an additional incentive to waive or release claims over and above a base amount offered without a waiver.
The advice of a knowledgeable employment lawyer can help you get the most out of a severance offer. We have the ability to evaluate your situation for employment claims that can add value to your severance package. We can also help you achieve severance terms that can allow you to further your career in the same industry or profession.
The lawyers in our firm have negotiated many severance agreements and have an excellent record in obtaining additional benefits for our clients. These can reflect either the value of your potential claims against your employer, or simply additional benefits that neither you nor your employer thought to consider, such as outplacement services or continued health insurance.
For additional information about the ways you can benefit from our experience with employment contracts and severance agreements, contact an attorney at Schaefer Halleen, LLC, in Minneapolis.
To discuss your case with a knowledgeable lawyer, please call 612-294-2600.
What Our Clients Say
My sister referred me to Schaefer Halleen when I began to experience being “railroaded” out of a position in a large pediatric clinic I had served well and productively in for years, and I’m very grateful to have retained the Firm. The Clinic was represented by one of the largest Firms in the state, and Larry Schaefer stood up to this “defense” in a way that made crystal clear he wasn’t intimidated, and knew more about the legal issues than any other lawyer. As a result, we achieved my g...
I was an executive successfully leading the local insurance function of a large national bank, when out of the blue I was faced with an abrupt termination with little or no transition pay. Larry Schaefer was able to not only secure me a severance that provided years of economic security, but he was also able to negotiate a significant reduction in my non-compete/non-solicitation obligation that has since allowed me to serve in a similar capacity for another large local employer. His crea...
When I was threatened with termination from my President position in the U.S. subsidiary of a multi-national corporation, I hired Larry Schaefer based on recommendations from other executives I knew, even though I am located on the East Coast. He was able to not only secure me a severance well in excess of what was considered “standard” for an executive at my level, but was able to secure favorable stock and option accelerated vesting, immediate payment of what would otherwise have been f...
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