Getting laid off is never fun. Depending on your life's circumstances, it can also be quite emotional or even traumatic. One way that some companies try to soften the blow is by offering laid off employees a severance package designed to ease their financial burden in the month ahead and provide a financial reward for their years of service to the company. If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you read the contract before you sign the dotted line. In fact, this might be the perfect time to hire an employment lawyer who is well educated at dealing with employee severance. Here are 3 things such a lawyer may be able to do for you.
Decide If It's Fair
If you've never dealt with severance in your industry before, you likely have no idea if you are getting a fair deal or not. An employment lawyer usually has a good sense of what is considered acceptable severance in specific industries. The severance agreement may also have additional language that needs reviewed besides just how you're going to get your money. A lawyer can review any agreement and make sure it does not contain any language that could harm the employee moving forward. For example, some companies may try to put a non-compete clause in such an agreement that would not allow you to work for a competitor for a certain amount of time. Your lawyer will know if such a move is legal or not given your particular circumstances and may be able to press for a better deal.
To Ensure You Get Paid Everything You Are Owed
Usually when an employer lets an employee go, they are still obligated to pay for any vacation time or reimburse any expenses that have not yet been taken care of. Just accepting that the employer will do this at some future date is not good enough. You need to get the specific date of the payment in writing before you sign any severance agreement. Sometimes having a lawyer on your side is all you need to ensure that your soon to be former employer sees it your way.
Avoid Blanket Confidentiality
If you worked with proprietary information or materials at your job, you may be asked to agree to keep what you learned away from the competition once you leave with a confidentiality statement. But many confidentiality statements are overbearing. A good employment lawyer can help carve out room to allow you to discuss things with immediate family or your accountant, for example. If you don't have an employment lawyer on your side, your company might not be willing to budge on this point, and you could put yourself at risk just from a regular conversation with someone close to you.
If you are about to negotiate a severance with your employer, make sure you have an attorney review the package before you agree to anything. A good lawyer like Michael Terrence Conway & Co will ensure that the deal is fair, ensure you are paid in a timely fashion and help better the specific terms of the separation like confidentiality and non-compete clauses.
If you are unable to work because of an illness or injury, you may qualify for social security disability payments. This money comes from a fund you have probably contributed to during your time in the work force, and it is likely that you have the right to disability payments using this money. As an attorney specializing in social security disability, I have a great deal of experience in helping clients determine if they qualify for disability payments. I hope that this blog will help people who have been injured understand what it means to qualify for social security disability benefits and how to go about getting that help.