Severance agreements are tempting, especially when they come backed by several months’ pay or other financial benefits. However, signing one of these contracts without understanding the stipulations you are agreeing to can be costly.
While some employers offer a separation package regardless of whether or not you sign their severance agreement, most offer a significant financial incentive to sign. Luckily, you can protect yourself and still receive the severance pay by hiring a severance agreement review lawyer in Charlotte.
Gibbons Leis, PLLC knows all the tricks employers try to hide in their severance agreements. Give him a call to schedule a severance agreement review today: 704-612-0038.
What is a severance agreement review?
Many employers use severance agreements when they terminate an employee. These agreements ask the employee to sign a contract agreeing to a number of stipulations in exchange for a lump sum of cash or other financial benefit.
In some cases, employers ask all departing employees to sign this type of release, and the process becomes accepted and routine. In others, employers approach only the employees who might pursue a legal case against them.
No matter which situation you are in, entering into this type of agreement requires you to exchange some of your legal rights. For this reason, you should never sign a severance agreement without having an employment lawyer review it.
In order for this type of agreement to be enforceable if the need arises, your employer must give you a reasonable amount of time to thoroughly review the document. However, you typically only have a few weeks to decide if you accept the agreement, so scheduling a review as soon as possible is important.
Why is a severance agreement review so important?
In many cases, former employees only see the amount of severance offered, and fail to understand how signing a severance agreement could impact their future. If you lose your job unexpectedly and are not sure of your next steps, the money is all the more tempting. But the hurdles this type of agreement could post for your future employment and future financial gain are very high.
Employers in almost every occupation use severance agreements as a way to get something they want from the terminated employee. While the list of stipulations varies from agreement to agreement, the employer considers them worth the financial incentive offered. For this reason, it pays to know exactly what you are giving up and how much that is worth.
Oftentimes, it is simply the right to file suit against the company. In other cases, it includes a wide range of restrictions on competition, proprietary information, and other factors that could affect future employment. A severance agreement review can help protect your rights, as well as lessen the impact this type of agreement may have on your future employment.
What might a severance agreement contain?
Severance agreements vary by industry, company, and even individual employee. It is impossible to speculate on exactly what your agreement might or might not contain. However, some common features of severance agreements include:
- A release of legal claims: The primary purpose of most severance agreements is to have the former employee relinquish his right to sue the employer for wrongful termination or any other legal claim.
- A non-disparagement clause: This type of clause restricts employees from making any critical comments about their employer. If it is not already included, you may want to ask your lawyer to make this mutual — addressing how the company will handle references or other requests from your future employers.
- A proprietary information clause: You can expect to have the company restrict you from using any proprietary information, contact lists, databases, or other information.
- A non-compete clause: Non-compete clauses typically bar you from working for a direct competitor for a limited time period. If your agreement includes this type of clause, it is imperative that your lawyer ensures the scope of the clause is reasonable.
- A non-solicitation clause: This type of clause prevents you from recruiting other employees from the company for a set period of time.
In addition to these stipulations, severance agreements often outline the process for settling any disputes over the agreement itself. Many also require the employee to agree to cooperate in any legal action taken by or against the company in the future.
Severance Agreement Review Lawyers in Charlotte
Phil Gibbons has decades of experience in the field of employment law. He knows all the tricks employers might try to pull and all the stipulations they may try to sneak into your severance agreement.
For answers to any questions about your severance agreement, or to schedule a review, call Gibbons Leis, PLLC: 704-612-0038.