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FAQs About Severance Packages in California

Posted on in Employment

severance packages, San Jose severance agreement and termination attorney, severance agreement, California termination laws, wrongful terminationUnder the right conditions, a severance package (i.e. a payment made from an employer to an employee when the employee is terminated) can be a great thing. Sometimes a departing employee will be offered a severance package substantial enough to afford him or her the opportunity to vacation before starting up with a new company or enable him or her to search for a new job without being financially strained.

However, it is important to note that before an employee receives a severance package, he or she is almost always asked to sign a severance agreement in which he or she agrees to accept the promised severance package in exchange for giving up certain rights. Most commonly the employee is asked give up his or her right to sue the employer. Sometimes, signing away the right to sue is in the employee’s best interest. However, in other instances it is a huge mistake. Therefore, if you are wondering whether or not you should sign a proposed severance agreement in California be sure to read through the frequently asked questions that are answered below and then contact a local employment lawyer with any case specific questions that you may have.

Q: What sort of rights are employees generally asked to waive in severance agreements?

A: Proposed severance agreements in California often ask departing employees to sign away their right to sue their former employer for defamation, harassment, wrongful termination, and/or discrimination. However, a severance agreement may also limit the employee in other ways as well. For example, severance agreements often require the employee to refrain from talking openly about the circumstances surrounding their termination.

Q: My employer said that I am required to sign the severance agreement that he gave me, is that true?

A: No, absolutely not. Furthermore, you should not feel pressured to sign a proposed severance agreement on the spot as you have the right to have a lawyer review the unsigned contract on your behalf before you sign it.

Q: I messed up and signed a severance agreement that I should not have signed. Are these agreements always enforceable?

A: It is possible that a California court could refuse to enforce all or part of your severance agreement. However, this generally only occurs when an employee signed away a right that can not be waived (for example, an employee in California can not waive his or her right to report crimes, to claim violations of our state’s wage and hour laws, etc.), or the employee signed the agreement while under duress, undue influence, or misconception induced by fraud, or the contract was unconscionable in some way.

Q: Should I consult with a lawyer before signing a severance agreement?

A: When you sign a severance agreement you are signing a legal contract that will likely limit your rights in the future. Therefore, it is critical that you read through the entire contact, fully understand each term, ensure that the language contained in the contract is neither too broad nor too vague, and are confident that you are getting a fair deal before you sign anything. If you are not intimately familiar with California’s severance and termination laws this can be very hard to do and it is probably a good idea for you to consult with a local attorney.

Need Legal Advice? Contact a Local Employment Lawyer Today

Confidentiality and discretion are key to resolving termination agreement disputes because in these cases more than just your paycheck is at stake. At Jachimowicz Law Group, our experienced San Jose severance agreement and termination attorneys understand that both your professional reputation and your future employability may also be at risk. This is why we are careful to collaborate with our clients’ former employers in order to quickly and discreetly resolve these types of disputes whenever it is possible to do so. To find out what our firm can do for you during a free initial consultation, contact our office today.








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