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Severance Agreements

If you have been terminated due to “reductions in force” or for any other reason, including “for cause,” Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec, LLC attorneys will negotiate improved severance packages (for larger severance payments, extended employer-paid health care coverage, and limitations to the extent of non-compete clauses).

It is important for a lawyer to review your severance agreement for the following reasons:

  1. If an employee is already entitled to receive a severance payment, there is no need to sign a severance agreement to get that money.  Review by an experienced lawyer can help to ensure that if the employee does sign an agreement, that agreement provides more than any severance payment the worker was already entitled to. Experienced lawyers may also have a sense of whether the amount of severance the employer is offering is within the usual range for the position.
  2. An employer who owes an employee money for unused vacation time or unreimbursed expenses must pay it regardless of whether a severance agreement is signed. If the parties do plan to sign an agreement, it should include a date by which the employer must pay what it owes the employee.
  3. A severance agreement should explain what benefits the employee will receive upon separating from the employer, such as any continuation of health coverage and the employee’s right to stay in the employer’s medical plan temporarily under the federal COBRA law.
  4. Employers usually want departing employees to execute severance agreements to get the former employee to release the employer from all legal claims. The general releases that employers draft often require employees to give the employer more than they should.  It is important to have an attorney review your severance agreement so you do not release important potential claims and entitlements.
  5. Severance agreements usually include a provision that prevents the former employee from disparaging the former employer. A lawyer can help to protect your reputation and negotiate how references will be handled and what information will be provided to potential future employers.

Please contact us if you would like to have your employment agreement reviewed by one of our professionals.  Ed Feinstein and Deborah Marcuse lead our team of employment lawyers.

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Feinstein Doyle Payne & Kravec, LLC

Pittsburgh Office

429 Fourth Avenue, Suite 1300

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: +1 (412) 281-8400

Toll Free: +1 (888) 355-1735

Fax: +1 (412) 281-1007

New York Office

29 Broadway, 24th Floor

New York, NY 10006-3205

Phone: +1 (212) 952-0014