When an employer makes you a severance offer, you may have a number of competing reactions. On one hand, many employees fear termination from an employer, especially if they face difficulty transitioning into another job. On the other hand, severance pay often feels like a windfall when it occurs, sometimes blinding an employee to unfair terms in the offer.
If you recently received a severance offer, you must consider a number of issues before you accept. Otherwise, you may face restrictions on future opportunities, or may simply leave money on the table on your way out the door.
First, consider the nature of the payout, and examine your employment contract to determine if it contains terms around what your severance should look like. In some cases, the offer may not even satisfy the contract your own employer gave you.
However, even if the payout is satisfactory, other terms may prove more contentious than you realize. If, for instance, your severance comes as part of an ongoing conflict with your employer based on your own behavior, be sure that the offer includes terms that relieve you of responsibility to the employer altogether and protects you from future legal action.
It is also important to consider whether the circumstances of the offer indicate potential discrimination. You may find that accepting the severance is ultimately against your best interests if the employer wants to terminate your employment for discriminatory reasons.
Addressing these issues and protecting your rights as an employee requires a nuanced understanding of the law. An experienced attorney can help you review the offer and identify any issues you must address to keep your priorities secure as you face a career transition.
Source: FindLaw, “Severance Packages: Are Benefits, Severance Pay on the Table?,” accessed March 02, 2018