Providing Legal Representation to Protect Your Rights
If your employer ends your employment agreement with little notice, they will likely offer you a severance package. At their core, severance agreements are monetary packages employers provide in exchange for the employee agreeing to waive certain rights or consent to certain restrictions. While a severance agreement can sound like a fair deal at first, working with an experienced legal team is essential to ensure you are getting a severance package that is in your best interests. In many cases, employers will use severance agreements to protect themselves from legal action, which can be harmful to you.
If you have been offered a severance package, you have the right to work with a legal team during negotiations to ensure you are getting a fair deal. Our team at Riggan Law Firm, LLC can work with you to negotiate with your employer and adjust the terms of your severance package to avoid waiving too many of your legal rights. If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out today. Call our office at 314-528-9661.
What is the Purpose of a Severance Package?
Employers often offer a severance package when employees are terminated from a job. Many employees assume this is to soften the blow of their newfound unemployment, but severance agreements are made to protect employers.
Employers typically use severance packages to demand certain concessions from employees, including the following:
- Non-disclosure: The employee cannot disclose confidential information or trade secrets they learned about the employer
- Non-competition: The employee is prohibited from working with companies that compete with their former employer
- Non-solicitation of employees: The employee is not permitted to hire their former colleagues at their new job
- Non-solicitation of clients: The employee is prohibited from retaining their former clients
- Elimination of legal actions: The employee must retract an existing lawsuit or waive future lawsuits against the employer
Not all of these concessions will be added to every severance agreement, but many are included in standard packages. It is essential to understand the legal implications of these agreements before signing away your rights. Employees who sign severance packages without assistance from a legal team could find themselves in a legal bind down the road. If you have been presented with a severance package, contact our team today for legal guidance.
How Do You Calculate an Appropriate Severance Package?
Along with certain legal stipulations, severance packages can also include a corresponding sum that the employer offers to the employee. The total sum presented in a severance package varies widely depending on the nature of your job and how much your previous salary was. This sum is almost always negotiable, and our legal team can help you negotiate your severance package terms in exchange for a larger number.
If you are unsure how much your severance package sum should be, consider the following factors:
- Timeline of restricted conduct: The longer the timeframe for restrictions, the higher the sum should be
- Scope of restricted behavior: The broader the range of restrictions is, the higher the sum should be
- Difficulty finding future employment: The higher the difficulty of finding future employment is, the higher the sum should be
Generally, the more restrictive the severance package is, the higher the sum can be. If you are being offered a severance package, ensuring that the terms are fair to you is essential. Our team can help you negotiate with your employer to get the payment you deserve.
What Terms Within a Severance Package Are Negotiable?
Although many employers may try to pressure employees into signing agreements right away, you always have the right to negotiate the terms under Missouri employment law. With the help of our team, you can ask your employer to extend healthcare coverage for you and your family until you find other employment. You can also ask for more severance pay and request it be paid as a lump sum instead of in installments.
Similarly, any non-compete or non-solicitation clauses are often open for negotiation. If any of these clauses would make it difficult for you to find further employment, our team can assist you with negotiations to ensure you can find a new job quickly and easily. A mutually beneficial severance agreement helps avoid conflicts down the road, which is better for you and your employer.
Can an Employer Hold Your Last Paycheck?
It is illegal for employers to hold your last paycheck in Missouri. Employers must issue a final paycheck containing compensation for all earned wages, no matter the cause of termination. According to Missouri labor laws, if you do not receive your last paycheck within seven days of your request, you can file a suit against your employer. If your employer is holding your final paycheck or threatening to withhold wages from you, contact our team immediately for legal guidance.
How Can a Severance Agreements Attorney Help Me?
Although the lump sum in a severance agreement might sound like a great deal, signing an agreement without an attorney present can severely limit your ability to find employment in the future. Many companies pressure their employees to sign restrictive agreements that waive their legal rights. However, you have the right to consult a legal team before signing any severance agreement to ensure it is in your best interests.
If you have been presented with a severance agreement, our team at Riggan Law Firm, LLC, can help. We will review the agreement carefully and make recommendations based on your financial needs. If the agreement is not up to your standards, we can meet with your employer to negotiate the terms and conditions so they are right for you. To learn more about our services and how we can help you, call our office today at 314-528-9661.