More and more employers are paying outgoing employees (whether fired or voluntary quit) severance pay
because in the long term it "buys them peace" with the employee and actually saves money in potential
future litigation. But, amazingly, most employees never ask for severance pay and companies are not required
to offer it.
Emilio Law Group has been in the Employment Law field for over 20 years and has helped thousands of ex-employees
receive severance-settlement payments. Even if you've been to an attorney and they said you have no case you can
still receive a severance-settlement from employers who would rather pay than go through a protracted litigation.
So, the next question is what is a good amount to request for severance?
First of all, there is no one-size-fits-all. One method is to look at the number of years worked and the severance
might be 1/2 to 1 month severance for each month. Other methods have also been proposed but these formulas miss the
human factor, such as the circumstances under which the termination took place, whether the employer feels
sympathetic to the employee, whether the employer is concerned with the facts of the termination becoming public.
These are factors that only you have a full appreciation and this is why in any discussion with the employer, it is
your request for severance that we submit.
So, what can Emilio Law Group do for you and what are the costs? First of all, we need to determine whether there
is any actual claim that you might have against the employer. There may be issues of wages or overtime owed, or
discrimination or retaliation, or termination based on some illegal reason. Also, if you were paid as an
independent contractor (1099 employee), you may have been misclassified and have a claim. There are so many possible
claims that you have that you need to have an Employment Law Attorney interview you. After we have examined your
facts, and if we cannot identify a claim that can be asserted, only then we talk about severance pay.
If you wish to have Emilio Law Group represent you for a request for severance, there are no up-front costs and
there is no fee unless we recover money for you and the decision of what to ask for is yours alone. There is simply
no risk to you to ask. The worst that can happen is that they say no.
If this sounds reasonable to you, then please call our office at
contact me directly on my cell phone at
562-895-5099. I look forward to speaking with
Here are three severance pay questions every employee should ask:
Am I entitled to severance if I am let go?
Companies are not required to give you severance. But your employer may offer it if it has a solid relationship with its employees and wants to stay in the good graces of anyone it lays off. A company may also offer severance as a way to negotiate with you to get you to give up your legal rights (this typically means you can't sue the company for firing you or laying you off if you sign an agreement.)
If you are fired for misconduct, however, it is unlikely that your company would offer you a severance package. Still, there are some cases where you are legally entitled to severance. Such as:
Your employment contract stipulates your entitlement to it.
Company policy states that employees are entitled to it.
Your company conducts a massive layoff without giving 60 days' notice (see the W.A.R.N Act)
How is severance calculated?
If your company doesn't have a policy specifying the formula for determining your severance package, you may have some room to negotiate the number. But in general, there are certain factors that go into the calculation:
Number of years you've worked at the company.
Your level in the company (such as management or executive).
Whether you had severance listed as part of your employment contract.
Don't immediately sign a severance package offer; it might be negotiable. While it might seem harsh, pulling the guilt card might help you negotiate a better deal. It's up to you to ask for more.
Is all severance monetary?
Severance doesn't always come in the form of cash. Many companies will extend health benefits for a period to employees they lay off. This can help cover your medical expenses until you secure your next job and benefits. Your severance package may also include other benefits, like life insurance and career coaching. Many companies work with outplacement consultants to help you find your next role, which is a perk in the current job market.
What You Should Know
You should consider if and how the severance package will affect your ability to claim unemployment insurance. Also consider how the payments (lump sum or continuing salary payments) will affect your tax liability.
It's a good idea to have a lawyer review any document your soon-to-be former employer wants you to sign, especially with regards to giving up legal rights. Never feel forced into signing a document on the spot, especially when you're carrying the emotional weight of being let go. Ask to take the severance package information home and review it when you have cleared your head.
In general, a severance package is designed to ease the pain of being fired or laid off. The money can help tide you over until you find your next job, and can keep you from worrying about how you will pay your bills in the meantime.
Daniel Emilio, Attorney At Law
Emilio Law Group, apc