Leaving a job can be challenging — especially if you are not able to leave the position on your own terms. The period between one job and another can be financially stressful for any person. A severance package can help to ease this transition.
While California employers are generally not required to offer their workers severance pay, there are many reasons why both parties might benefit from such an agreement. In this article, our Los Angeles employment law attorneys provide an overview of the most important things that workers need to know about severance agreements in California.
Severance Agreement California: The Basics
A severance agreement is a contract between an employer and an employee. It governs the rights and duties of each party in the event that an employee is terminated from their position. Severance agreements may be signed when an employee is first hired or they may be signed at the time an employee is being terminated.
Generally, employees receive payment or other financial benefits in exchange for signing this type of agreement. In return, employees are typically required to give up their ability to bring a lawsuit for wrongful termination.
Most California Employees are Not Guaranteed Severance Pay
Employees are generally not guaranteed severance pay under state or federal labor laws. As an example, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employers to offer severance pay. It is crucial that California workers understand why employers offer severance packages at all: companies get a benefit in return for offering severance pay.
Most importantly, the terminated employee will typically release all potential claims against the company.
Severance Agreements Can Be Negotiated
Before signing a severance pay agreement, employees should be certain that they are receiving fair benefits and that they understand the full extent of their rights and their obligations under the deal. Among other things, a severance agreement may require an employee to:
- Give up their ability to bring a wrongful termination claim against the company;
- Agree to an overall confidentiality clause;
- Sign a non disparagement agreement; and/or
- Commit to a non compete agreement.
If you are considering accepting severance pay, it is imperative that you ensure that the terms are fair and acceptable to you. These agreements can often be negotiated. They should always be reviewed by a qualified employment lawyer. If you believe that you have a wrongful termination claim, you should consult with an attorney before signing your severance agreement.
In addition, if you are having any trouble obtaining severance benefits that are owed to you, it is crucial that you seek immediate legal assistance.
Get Help From Our Experienced California Severance Pay Lawyers
At Workplace Rights Law Group LLP, our top-rated California employment lawyers have extensive experience drafting, negotiating, reviewing, and litigating severance agreements. To get immediate help from our employment lawyers, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm to set up a free, no obligation consultation.
With offices in Riverside and Glendale, we serve communities all over Southern California.