3 Things to Know Before Signing a Severance Agreement
#1: Everyone's Situation Is Different
Over the course of your career you may be presented with an exit package, severance agreement or separation agreement. Whether it makes sense for you to agree to the terms presented depends entirely on the specific circumstances of your situation.
#2: An Attorney Will Tell You If The Deal Is Great, Good or Terrible
If you haven’t seen hundreds of these agreements before, it is hard to know if you are getting a great deal or not. It is important to talk to an attorney who reviews these types of agreements all the time before signing. They will be able to read between the lines. The devil is in the details.
#3: You Should Understand What The Agreement Is Requiring From You
The agreements are not always clear, and you should not assume it is written with your best interests at heart. If you are over 40, they have to give you more time to consider it. There may be a line in there that says “Employee has been advised to seek counsel.” Do not read that clause as an indication that the company has provided you with a fair agreement. One of the things I see often (and really dislike) is language that is included purely to intimidate you. You should talk to a lawyer to find out which argument terms are already required by law, and whether the company is asking you to waive any legal rights that you are otherwise entitled to.
Sometimes compromise makes sense in order to get a severance payment and close this chapter of your life. But, you should know what deal you are making. Always, always, always have an attorney review your severance agreement.
You probably have a time limit to return this document back to your employer. Do not wait to contact us to determine what your options are.