Negotiating Contracts of Employment or Severance Minneapolis
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.
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 Minneapolis
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.
FAQs About Severance and Employment Contracts in Minnesota
There isn’t one “standard” severance package. This is largely because Minnesota employers are not required to offer severance packages to employees who are terminated, resign, or constructively discharged. If an employer does offer a severance package to you, the terms and monetary benefits you are offered will likely depend on the type of work you perform, how long you have been employed by your employer, the nature and reason for your departure, and a number of other factors. If you would like to determine what is a reasonable severance package for your situation, then consider speaking to a Minneapolis severance attorney.
Severance packages are typically conditioned upon a written release of your right to sue the employer for any claims resulting from layoff, termination, or a violation of employee rights that occurred under state and federal laws. Employers may propose an increased severance as an additional incentive to waive or release claims over and above a base amount offered without a waiver. Since you may have a limited timeframe to sign the severance agreement, you should quickly discuss the proposed severance claim with a severance attorney before accepting.
You are not obligated to accept the severance package your employer proposes. You are free to negotiate the terms of the proposed severance, but your employer may reject your counteroffer. It’s advantageous for you to work with a professional severance attorney because the attorney understands the state and federal laws, can negotiate on your behalf, thereby lifting the negotiating burden off of you, and can help you ensure any employment law claims that could be made raised in court are viable and explained to your employer.
If you anticipate being offered a severance package, then you should strongly consider working with a severance attorney. Your attorney can help ensure the employer is offering you a fair amount of money for you to waive your legal claims. The attorney has the ability to evaluate your situation for employment law claims and others based on common law, which can add value to your severance package. They can also help you achieve severance terms that allow you to further your career in the same industry or profession, including by negotiating any noncompete clauses within the severance package.
If you receive a lump sum severance, you may still be able to receive unemployment benefits. However, severance that is paid through monthly installments may jeopardize your ability to collect unemployment. Only the state unemployment office has the authority to determine if you will receive unemployment compensation after you received a severance package. With the assistance of a severance attorney you may be able to negotiate a severance payout that maximizes your ability to receive unemployment.
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