Severance Package Attorney in New Jersey
NJ Severance Package Lawyers
A severance package can never truly make up for the difficulties that come with losing your job, but it can often help ease the transition between your previous job and the next. While it is certainly possible to negotiate a favorable severance package on one’s own, it is very often the case that, with the assistance of a lawyer, you will make out much better. That is why, whether you are looking to negotiate a better deal or you simply need assistance in fully understanding the conditions of your agreement, having an employment lawyer can make all the difference.
At Schall & Barasch, our New Jersey employment lawyers are exclusively dedicated to protecting employee rights and advocating on behalf of them. We will thoroughly review your severance package to make sure you are getting the fairest and most beneficial result possible. In addition, we can either help guide you through negotiations while staying behind the scenes or negotiate for you directly with your employer.
What is a Severance Package?
Severance packages are typically offered to employees upon being laid off or fired. This “package” may include a combination of various benefits and pay, such as payment of your regular salary, payout for unused sick or vacation days, or cashed-in stock options. Severance packages are essentially meant to lessen the blow of an involuntary termination, but they are also often used by employers as a means to avoid a potential lawsuit in the future.
Common Severance Packages
No two cases are alike when it comes to severance packages, and each case requires very individualized attention. There is no “rule” or “book” you can consult that lists what is a “fair” severance package. Generally speaking, however, there are certain benefits that will typically be included in severance packages.
Some benefits commonly included in severance packages include:
- Salary continuation or severance pay. Employers may base the amount of severance pay they offer by considering the number of years spent in a position at the company. Some employers offer one to two weeks of pay for every year the employee has spent in their service. In return for the receipt of severance pay, most employers will require you to sign a release of all claims you might have against the company. Therefore, if you feel you may have a valid legal claim against your former employer, such as a claim for discrimination, sexual or racial harassment, or retaliation for whistleblowing, it is critical that you get the advice of an experienced employment lawyer before signing a severance pay agreement!
- Unused time off payments. Some companies may offer payment for any unused paid vacation days or sick leave.
- Insurance benefits. Employers are generally required by law to offer a terminated employee health insurance continuation in the form of COBRA benefits, which require you, as a former employee, to pick up the full cost of continuing your insurance. Often, when we negotiate a severance package for a client, we will seek to have the employer pick up the cost of the continued health insurance benefits.
- Outplacement services. These services provide the terminated employee with assistance in finding a new job or allow for time-off flexibility so they can apply and/or interview for new jobs.
- References. This part of the agreement provides all information that may be disclosed to any future employers.
- Uncontested unemployment benefits. Such a provision will state that the employer agrees not to contest or challenge an employee’s potential application for unemployment benefits.
Are Severance Packages Required in New Jersey?
No. Employers are not required to offer severance packages to the employees they layoff or fire.
Why You Need an Employment Lawyer for Your Severance Package
There are several things that you must consider when deciding whether to sign a severance agreement or reject it. To begin, you should understand that the severance agreement was written to protect your employer’s interests, not yours. Second, you need to understand that typically in return for whatever amount of severance pay being offered, your employer will be requiring that you release all potential legal claims you may have against them. This is one of the key reasons why getting legal advice is a very good idea before (not after!) you sign the agreement.
Often there is the possibility of severance package negotiation. Before engaging in a negotiation, it is important for you and your lawyer to determine whether or not you have any real leverage to apply in negotiations. The strongest leverage you may have is your potential legal claim against the employer: the stronger the claim, the greater is the leverage. But legal leverage is not the only form of leverage you may be able to bring to bear, as there may be other “buttons” of the employer that you can push that can be useful in negotiating more in the way of severance.
Contact the Employment Lawyers at Schall & Barasch Today
The attorneys at Schall & Barasch have negotiated hundreds of severance packages for their clients in New Jersey over the years. In many of these cases, they were able to negotiate substantial severance package benefits where none had been offered or otherwise greatly enhance the amount of severance pay that was initially presented.
If you need assistance to review or negotiate your severance package, please contact our firm by clicking on the “Submit Your Case” link below and completing the online Questionnaire. You can also call our office directly at (856) 914-9200.
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