Severance Negotiations & Counsel
Severance and separation agreements are important contracts not to be taken lightly—despite the impression your employer may have given you when he or she dropped the papers in front of you and said something like, “sign here and we’ll give you X dollars, and um, you um, have the right so you could talk to an attorney before signing.”
The most important part of the document is the “Release of Claims” section. By signing and accepting the terms of the agreement, you are effectively signing away just about every legal right you’d otherwise have to pursue a legal claim against your employer. In many situations, that’s fine because you may not have any grounds to sue your employer anyway. In other situations, however, you may have a valid legal claim worth much more than the payment the employer is offering in return for signing the agreement.
At this juncture, it may be an excellent idea to consult with an attorney to explore whether you do have possible legal claims against your employer—especially if you feel like your termination was fishy or something isn’t quite sitting right with you. If you have possible legal claims, they can be used as leverage to sweeten the deal the employer is offering.
It’s also a good idea to speak to an attorney if you are staring at that document and want some peace of mind: a full explanation of your rights and obligations and some practical advice on whether you’re getting a fair deal or if there’s any room for negotiation.
Important: If you’ve signed such an agreement within the last 7-15 days and have misgivings, you should contact an attorney immediately because you may have time to rescind your agreement to the contract and an opportunity to protect your legal rights.
- Our Flat Fee Severance Consultation. One of our signature services is our Severance Agreement Consultation. For a flat fee, we review and research your documents and legal issues before we meet. During our meeting, we review your rights and obligations under the prospective agreement as well as strategize opportunities for negotiation. You'll walk away with a layperson's memo noting all the important stuff.
- Severance Negotiation. Following an initial consultation, we may determine your former employer is not offering you a fair deal, especially in light of legal and business leverage available to increase the employer's offer. In such a case, we can offer services ranging from coaching you on negotiations with the employer to direct, attorney-to-attorney negotiations where we work with your employer to get the deal done for you. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, and your preferences and financial situation, we can usually offer these services on an hourly, contingent-fee, or hybrid-fee basis.
- Litigation. In some situations, employers offer severance packages in the hopes employees with known legal claims will quickly sign and walk away with a modest sum of money in order to limit the company’s exposure to liability. If we work with you through an initial consultation and determine this is likely the case in your situation, we can also offer you our full slate of litigation services, forgoing the severance offer—and taking the employer to court to right the employer’s wrongs.
The place to start is to schedule a consultation with us at our Downtown Minneapolis office or our 494 & France office in Bloomington/Edina—or, start with a 20-minute Free Phone Evaluation to gauge whether our consultation would be worth your time: