At some point in your career, you may receive a severance offer from an employer. This is not always an easy scenario to navigate, and it is important for you to understand the issues so that you can make an informed decision about the offer and potentially negotiate the terms.
Ideally, a severance package allows you to move on from your current position and have the resources to job search for some time before you feel economic pressures that might force you to take a job you do not want or that is well below your expected pay grade. However, this not the only thing at stake. Be sure to read the offer carefully before you sign on the dotted line or refuse the offer altogether.
Many workers struggle to understand the nuances of employment law, and end up missing out on important protections or benefits they might otherwise receive in a severance offer. An experienced employment law attorney can provide knowledgeable insight into your circumstances and protect your rights and opportunities as you advance your career beyond your current employment.
Why did you receive the offer?
No company is likely to make a severance offer that does not benefit it in some way, unless you have a very special relationship with your employer. This is not necessarily malicious, it is simply business. To this end, it is important to understand why you received this offer to begin with, to make sure that you do not overlook some potential problems later on.
If, for instance, you receive a severance offer as part of receiving accusations of poor behavior, or because you accused someone else of wrongdoing, consider how accepting the offer may limit your ability to defend yourself in the future or pursue justice for some violation.
Likewise, if the company offers you severance because it is in financial straights, you may want to accept it sooner than later to make sure that there are resources left to fulfill it.
Is the offer fair?
It is possible that you may receive a severance offer that seems good at first, but, upon inspection, is woefully below your expectations. Make sure that you consider not only your current salary and benefits, but the length of time that you worked with the company and any additional value that you bring to the table.
In many instances, it is helpful to have an objective, experienced set of eyes on such an offer. You can consult with an attorney and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the offer, ensuring that your rights and opportunities remain protected throughout the process.