How to Handle a Severance Agreement

With companies forced to downsize in recent years, the use of severance agreements have become more and more common. Whether the layoff was anticipated or not, it is important to keep calm and use this opportunity to plan for your future and to avoid possible conflicts down the road with your employer. This article is intended to provide you with a basic understanding of some of the more common provisions of severance agreements and help you make the appropriate inquires when dealing with the employer.

An employer is not required to offer severance packages to any employee, and may even select to offer severance packages to a limited group of employees. Severance packages are confirmed by a written contract between the employer and the employee in the form of a severance agreement. If you reject the initial severance package, the employer has no obligation to provide you with the initial offer if you later change your mind.

Your employer should allow you ample time to review the document and to seek legal counsel. Be very cautious if your employer demands an immediate answer or otherwise pressures you to sign the agreement before you fully understand the terms and conditions. At that same time you need to be very aware of any stated deadlines in which to provide your answer and ask to for an extension in writing if you are approaching the deadline.

The severance agreement will waive your legal rights to pursue certain claims against the emplo ...

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