Our New York Severance Pay Lawyers have counseled former employees of The New York Times (“NYT”) who were laid off, had their positions eliminated or were otherwise disciplined. Over the past couple of months, it has been reported that the NYT has taken steps to reduce its headcount by offering certain employees voluntary buyouts and laid off others. Some of the affected employees may have been provided with a severance package. While there is never a good time to lose your job, it is imperative for selected employees to understand their rights and options if their jobs are at risk. Contact our New York and Westchester County Employment Lawyers to confidentially learn your rights and determine what you can do to maximize the economic and non-economic terms of a severance package. We can help you during the difficult process of losing your job. Our attorneys have helped many employees who have been presented with a severance agreement. Affected employees should not sign an separation agreement without consulting an experienced employment lawyer – the agreement is written for your former employer’s benefit, not necessarily yours. In fact, many times the agreement will specifically state that you are advised to consult an attorney.
Below are just a couple of reasons why the terms of a proposed severance agreement are not always written in an employee’s favor:
NUMBER ONE: In general, almost all severance pay agreements include a provision stating that you (and your assignees) cannot and will not sue your former employer. While there are some limited exceptions for claims that cannot be released under law, this is a significant issue for employers. In essence, this is why companies provide with you severance Generally, employers are not required to provide severance absent an agreement, policy, plan or few other situations.
Employers are buying your promise not to sue them in the future. The monetary terms of a severance package should be negotiated if you have a strong claim. For example, if your employment was terminated because you recently were a whistleblower regarding protected activity you may have a claim for unlawful retaliation and thereby the amount for your release of claims should reflect that. Some employees incorrectly believe that they can simply accept the severance and then sue for employment discrimination. In most cases that is not true. This underscores the importance of an employee to seek counsel before he or she signs an agreement.
NUMBER TWO: Some employees are surprised to learn that a non-compete and/or non-solicitation post-employment restriction is included in a severance agreement when non such restriction existed before whether in an employment agreement or any other company document. These restrictions can significantly negatively impact you for years after your termination and impede your job efforts. It is important to understand the stated restrictions, their potential impact and your arguments to push back on them. The only thing worse than being unemployed is being unenemployed with restrictions on how you can obtain new employment.
NUMBER THREE: There are certain payments that are owed to you regardless of whether you sign the severance agreement or not. For example, in most instances, you are entitled to your accrued but unused vacation pay. It is helpful to know what you are entitled to absent a signed agreement and what additional monies you will receive as consideration for signing the agreement.
NUMBER FOUR: Many agreements include a no-employment clause meaning you cannot re-apply for a new job at the same company, its affiliates, subsidiaries or related companies. Generally, this provision is included to protect the employer from a retaliation claim. It can limit your job search efforts depending on the size of your former employer and its scope.
Contact our NY Metro Area Severance Package Attorney at (800) 893-9645 to confidentially discuss your rights and options so that you can negotiate the best possible severance package you deserve to help you navigate through these difficult times. We will review your agreement paragraph by paragraph with you so you understand the ins/outs of your agreement. We will let you know how we can maximize your severance package.
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