Executive compensation attorneys at Leeds Brown have the experience and discretion that all New York City employees, including professionals and executives, want when they have employment disputes. Our lawyers dedicate themselves to ensuring that all ranks of employees in New York State, New York City, and across the nation receive fair and passionate representation.
Waivers or releases almost always accompany a severance agreement. When an employer asks you to waive a legal right, you want to be completely certain that you are receiving adequate compensation in return. You also want to understand the terms of what you are signing and whether you have alternative options that might be more beneficial to you in the long run.
Leeds Brown has lawyers who are experienced at negotiating and reviewing employment contracts, severance agreements, non-compete agreements and non-disclosure agreements. We have a proven track record of successful litigation in all areas of employment law including wrongful termination, breach of contract and discrimination. The professionals at our firm work tirelessly to negotiate the best compensation and severance packages for clients and make sure they understand all of their legal entitlements and options.
Severance is not something that employers give automatically. An at-will employee has no legal right to receive a severance package of any kind. However, there are common instances where an employer may offer severance to a departing employee.
A written employment contract –
Many executives have contracts that specifically provide for severance upon termination of their employment. The parties to an executive employment contract usually negotiate severance directly into the initial agreement which they sign before beginning work. A dispute may arise when an employer refuses to abide by the terms of the contract. Why would an employer refuse to pay severance? The contract may be poorly written and have multiple loopholes that make it easy for the employer to hold back the money. The employer may also claim that there is a valid reason to withhold severance, such as some wrongdoing by the terminated executive.
An offer of severance upon termination –
When an employer discharges an executive, the dismissal is often accompanied by an offer of severance. The severance offer may simply be a way of thanking a long-term, hard-working employee for service or helping the employee make ends meet while seeking a new job.
Requesting/Negotiating severance –
With or without an employment agreement, there may be times when an executive employee may request severance or try to negotiate additional severance. Circumstances may exist that give an employee significant leverage during this process.
For example, if you have experienced discrimination recognized under the law (Age is often an issue with long term employees), harassment recognized under the law, including sexual harassment, you may be in a position to negotiate a better severance package in return for not pursuing a claim against your employer. Leeds Brown has the experience needed to negotiate severance agreements for our clients, especially when there have been violations of employment rights.
All severance agreements come with a release that must be signed by the executive. By signing the release, the employee waives the right to pursue additional money, file lawsuits, and seek other remedies. Once an employee signs the release, he or she loses all leverage.
Before signing anything, you should know what your agreement says. What rights are you waiving? Does your package include money for accrued vacation time? How will the money be paid out? Does it require you to sign immediately?
It is imperative that you have executive compensation attorneys in New York review your severance and release agreement before you sign the paperwork. We can make sure you understand what you are getting and giving up. We can negotiate revisions that protect your rights and ensure that you are getting the severance amount that accurately reflects the value of any legal claims you may be waiving.
At Leeds Brown, our staff will work with you to review your entire employment history when negotiating severance and determining the best way to move forward after an employer discharges you from an executive position. During this process, our goal is to get a full picture of your career and contributions to your employer’s company.
We may uncover violations of federal, state or local protections such as those available under Title VII of the Civil Rights Law of 1964, the New York State Human Rights Law, the New York City Human Rights Law and/or or whistleblower laws. If so, we want you to understand all of your options including filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination or discrimination. We are not just experienced negotiators; we are seasoned and passionate litigators who are not afraid to fight for our clients’ rights in a court of law.
Leeds Brown is a law firm with decades of experience representing employees in New York City and the surrounding areas in a full range of employment law cases. We do so with unmatched skill and dedication.
Whether your employer offered you a severance agreement during a mass layoff, in response to a discrimination claim or as part of an employment contract, it is always advisable to have a competent professional review the terms of the agreement. Executive compensation lawyers at Leeds Brown can review your agreement, negotiate on your behalf, and litigate any underlying employment discrimination or wrongful termination claims.
Contact Leeds Brown to review your employment agreement, severance package, and release. Our team of passionate and dedicated advocates provides executive clients with an unmatched level of service and results. You can reach someone at our office twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week by calling 1-800-585-4658.