Our Award-Winning New York Severance Agreement Attorney has represented current and former employees of Morgan Stanley who were affected by layoffs, position eliminations or subject to other disciplinary action. It was reported that earlier this week, Morgan Stanley has started to lay off employees in its credit division including bond traders. Morgan Stanley is the sixth largest bank in the country based on assets and reportedly has 60,000 employees globally. Layoffs in the financial sector in general have been a function of business operations, regulations and competition. If you or someone you know was laid off or otherwise disciplined, contact our NY Severance Package Lawyer to discuss the facts and circumstances and determine options, rights and potential next steps.
Why It Is Important to Have Your Severance Agreement Reviewed By An Experienced Employment Law Attorney
It is never a good time to lose one's job especially around the holidays and when employers may not be looking to hire. Being unemployed is difficult enough but having a non-compete agreement or another form of a restrictive covenant can impede your ability to find another job in the financial services sector. Some severance agreements can include a restrictive covenant even if you did not sign one during your employment. Critically, severance agreements typically state that employees should not sign them without consulting an attorney. There is a good reason for them to be reviewed because they are generally written for the company's benefit, not necessarily yours. Furthermore, in addition to the inclusion of a restrictive covenant, the agreement can contain numerous post-employment obligations that can affect your job search process. Below are some reasons why it can be valuable for an attorney to review a severance agreement.
Point Number 1: Know What You Are Entitled To -- In general, employers are required to pay separating employees their accrued but unused vacation pay absent a written policy. This payment should be included with your final paycheck and should be made regardless of whether you sign the severance agreement or not. The severance pay amount is additional consideration that you would receive if you signed the separation agreement. Some companies will also pay for other forms of Paid Time Off (PTO) to separating employees but absent a policy or written agreement that is generally not required. It is worth noting that the New York State Department of Labor has also recently revised its policy on eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits and its interplay with severance pay. See the New York State fact sheet here. Finally, depending on the circumstances, you may be arguably entitled to a bonus payment for the prior calendar year.
Point Number 2: General Release of Claims -- Severance agreements typically include a waiver of any and all claims against the Company (and its related entities and officers). The waiver will generally include a release of known or unknown claims so if you find out something that is a smoking gun for a discrimination case months after you signed it, it is very likely that you will be precluded from pursuing a claim for monetary damages. That being said, some claims cannot be released as a matter of law and it may wise to negotiate a mutual release to protect you or a carve out for certain claims. Each situation is unique.
These are just two reasons for why you should not just sign a separation package. A greater discussion can be found here. We have discussed the topic of severance agreements often and have lectured on this issue to employees, attorneys and human resources professionals.
If you have been presented with a Severance Pay Package, contact our New York Employment Lawyer to learn your rights, options and whether we can help maximize the value of your package before you sign the agreement.
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