When losing your job, immediately signing a severance agreement may feel like a good idea.
The dreaded moment has arrived: you find yourself sitting across the table from your Human Resources manager, and they have just informed you that you no longer have a job. You feel sick to your stomach as questions race through your mind: “Are my savings ready for unemployment? How am I going to get health insurance? Why is this happening to me?”
As you panic about your future, the manager slides an agreement to you. It is hard to concentrate on reading, but some bold text stands out to you: Severance Agreement. The manager then begins to explain that, if you sign the agreement, you will receive an additional payment on top of your remaining wages.
“Well,” you think, “that’s not much, but it’s something. I should just sign it so I can get the cash and get out of here.”
Do not immediately sign; take your time.
Losing your job can be extremely painful, and in some instances, even traumatic. When you are face to face with Human Resources and a severance agreement, the pressure may be high to just sign the agreement and get past this difficult experience. As tempting as it is to take the money and leave, however, if you ever find yourself in this situation, be sure to take the time to contact an attorney who can help you review the agreement. Despite the pressure that comes with this situation, you should not rush into any agreements.
Why do I need an attorney?
When signing a severance agreement with your now former employer, it is crucial for you to understand the rights you are waiving and the value of those rights. An attorney who specializes in reviewing severance agreements will help you understand not only the agreement itself, but the implications of the agreement in the future.
If you have even an inkling of a suspicion that your termination ended for illegal reasons (such as discrimination or retaliation) an attorney can help you weigh your options and give you the tools you need to seek adequate compensation for a waiver of your rights. A key factor of severance agreements is that they require you to waive any potential claims you may have against a company in exchange for a payment. In cases of discrimination or retaliation, these claims can be very valuable, and an attorney can help you determine whether the severance agreement adequately values your rights.
Further, even if you do not believe that the rationale for your employment ending was improper, you should still seek an attorney’s review before signing it. Waiving your rights in any situation requires careful reflection and understanding, and an attorney will help you ensure that no stone is left unturned.
Please contact us!
If you find yourself in this situation, contact an attorney IMMEDIATELY, as you will likely only have a limited time to sign the agreement. The attorneys at Schaefer Halleen are well-versed in reviewing these agreements, and our services range from helping you understand the agreement to helping you negotiate better terms.