Severance Agreements & Employment Agreements
Many employers offer employees some amount of compensation following a termination or layoff. These offers almost always require employees to sign severance agreements waiving all possible claims in order to obtain these benefits. Many of these agreements even include non-compete and non-solicitation covenants that can prevent you from getting another job.
Herrmann & Murphy’s attorneys regularly review these severance agreements in order to help you understand what you are giving up in exchange for severance benefits and whether the amount of severance offered is fair compensation for what you are owed.
Employers are often willing to negotiate the amount of severance initially offered, especially where it appears that your termination may have been motivated by illegal reasons. Following a consultation, we can recommend whether we believe it is in your best interests to accept the severance offer initially presented or whether you should make a counteroffer in order to get the fair compensation you deserve.
Employees hired for senior management roles are often presented with formal employment agreements at the beginning of their employment. Herrmann and Murphy’s attorneys are experienced at both drafting these agreements and in negotiating these agreements on behalf of individuals.
There are many pitfalls to consider in light of the usual “at-will” employment rule that these agreements need to overcome if they are going to be of any use at all for the executive. This usually means that the agreement must include a specific duration for the contract. Contracts that say employment is “indefinite,” “permanent,” “forever,” or “until terminated” are all unenforceable and viewed by the courts as at-will employment, no matter what else the agreement may provide.
Usually these agreements are drafted to benefit the company more than the employee. Common areas where we have been successful in negotiating additional terms to protect individual executives include: compensation terms, equity provisions, severance benefits, guaranteed terms of employment, limited “for cause” reasons for ending the relationship, enumerated “good reasons” the executive may resign and still receive severance and equity benefits, and the non-compete and non-solicitation provisions.
You should reach out for a consultation today, if you are considering signing a severance agreement or employment agreement.
Reach out for a consultation today.