So you’ve been offered a severance package from your employer and New Jersey labor laws have you running in circles – what do you do? The first step in a severance agreement process is understanding why companies offer severance in the first place.
Employers Protect Themselves
So why are severance packages offered? According to research, companies feel offering a severance package is the best option for avoiding future lawsuits, it ‘looks good’ on paper when attracting new talent, and ‘makes nice’ with the former employee who could potentially become a future customer.
Now that you understand the reasoning behind your company offering a severance package, you understand that it is not necessarily your best interest they have at heart. With that said, if you’re not looking out for number one, who is?
You Should Look to Protect Your Own Interests
Don’t attempt to take on New Jersey’s labor laws or severance laws by yourself. Find a good New Jersey employment law firm which specializes in severance cases and set up a consultation.
Meanwhile, here are some basic tips you can follow if you are offered a severance package by your employer:
- Take your time. Severance agreements are critical, so be sure you take the time to fully analyze what has been offered.
- Research. Start gathering information to determine if you have room to negotiate. Start with your original employment offer, documentation of your salary, your employee handbook, and other relevant information like bonus plans, health, life and disability insurance, vacation time, and stock options. Make a list of existing benefits and sources of compensation you have, such as commissions, stock, bonuses, etc. You may even have business expenses that have not been reimbursed.
- Review, review, review. Thoroughly examine the severance agreement to see if they have left out compensation sources, insurance or other benefits. Then do a comparison to industry standards.
Examine why you were fired. Wrongful termination may be grounds to pursue legal action. Questionable motives may help you negotiate your severance package better. Remember, if you sign the severance agreement without legal counsel or negotiation, you could be signing away your rights forever.
Negotiate, or not. Oftentimes, negotiations are expected in severance matters; however, there are some employers who will remove their severance offer from the table if it is rejected. Take careful consideration of what has been offered. Once you’ve decided to negotiate your severance package, you must now focus on exactly what to negotiate. This includes monetary considerations, insurance considerations, disability benefits, letters of recommendation or voluntary separation, and more. Speaking to an attorney from a New Jersey employment law firm will further expand upon these options.
Hire a severance attorney specialist. You know what they say about, “When in doubt…” Don’t negotiate with your employer by yourself. Disputing a severance package or even understanding the severance agreement that is put before you is a big deal. Hire a severance lawyer to review your severance offer and/or negotiate on your behalf . The financial implications of a severance matter are significant and should not go unrecognized.