In many cases, when an employer and an employee end their relationship, the employer will ask the employee to sign a severance agreement. In some cases, even when you uphold your end, employers refuse to abide by their own agreement and violate their terms. If you believe your employer violated your severance agreement, discuss your case with a severance agreement breach lawyer in Charlotte from Gibbons Leis, PLLC
Our team will investigate your case and determine exactly how your employer breached your agreement. Call Gibbons Leis, PLLC today to schedule your consultation and plan out your next steps: 704-612-0038.
What does a severance agreement contain?
In a severance agreement, the employee agrees to not do something in exchange for something from the employer, e.g., a severance package. A severance agreement might contain various terms, depending on your position and the industry. For example, the following terms are common in severance agreements:
- A non-compete agreement
- A non-disparagement clause
- A non-solicitation agreement (of both customers and employees)
- A confidentiality agreement
When does a severance agreement breach occur?
A severance agreement breach can occur in many different ways and depends on the terms of your contract. An employer can breach a severance agreement by doing the following:
- Cancelling your health insurance policy (if part of your severance agreement included keeping your health insurance)
- Refusing to cover COBRA payments (if payment was part of your agreement)
- Refusing to send your biweekly check (if a continuance of pay was part of your agreement)
- Refusing to send you a bonus (if a bonus was part of your agreement)
- Giving you a bad reference or recommendation letter (if your severance agreement specified the type of reference employers may give)
- Refusing to write a recommendation letter
Essentially, a severance agreement breach occurs anytime an employer refuses to do something it promised it would do in the agreement.
What options do I have to recover what my employer took from me?
The first thing you should do is try to contact your employer. In some cases, the violation is accidental. It might have been a clerical error or a third-party error. If you are able to contact your employer and s/he refuses to honor your agreement (or if you cannot get in contact with your employer), you may have to resort to other measures.
Many severance agreements have the options for recourse contained within. Check your specific agreements to determine the remedies available to you. In most cases, you can either undergo mediation or file suit against your employer.
Phil Gibbons can review your agreement and help determine which option will work best for you.
What if I agreed to not sue my employer in my severance agreement?
The covenant not to sue will likely not apply. In most cases, your severance agreement only covers actions that occurred before you signed.
If your employer violates some part of your severance agreement, you are legally entitled to file suit against your employer.
Are there any defenses my employer might use?
Yes. Many severance agreements contain technical language that most people will not understand. If you did not have a lawyer review your severance agreement, you might learn that your employer did not violate the contract; rather, she might have s/he used a loophole to get out of paying you what you deserve.
Or, you might find out that you violated the severance agreement first, voiding it and all its terms. For example, one of the terms of your severance agreement might have been a non-disparagement clause. If you spoke badly about your employer or acted in a way that would adversely affect your employer after you signed your severance agreement, you violated your severance agreement and rendered it null and void.
What can I recover in my severance agreement breach suit?
If your suit is successful, you may be able to recover:
- Lost earnings
- Severance pay
- Health insurance premiums or deductibles
- Any out-of-pocket costs you had to cover due to revocation of benefits
- Emotional injury due to the breach
- Liquidated damages
You might also be able to recover attorney’s fees or court costs.
Where can I get help with my severance agreement case?
Phil Gibbons, who started his career representing employers and their interests, has been helping employees fight back against their employers for over 15 years. This experience gives Phil a unique perspective. He knows the tricks employers and their attorneys use to save money at the expense of employees.
In addition, Gibbons Leis, PLLC focuses entirely on employment law. This narrow focus gives Phil the knowledge necessary to win your claim and allows him to stay up-to-date on any employment law changes and anything that might affect you or your case.
He will investigate your claim, determine if you have a valid case, and represent you in mediation or in court.
Call today to schedule a free case evaluation: 704-612-0038.