As a talented and dedicated team player, perhaps you thought it would never happen to you: Just before lunch, you receive a voicemail from your Executive Vice President that she'd like to meet with you in her office. The purpose of the meeting is not provided. You're not informed to bring any projects, files, or papers with you. You don't know of anyone else invited to attend the meeting. And your attendance is mandatory. Is this your time? Is it your job?
Reviewing and Negotiating Executive Severance Agreements
Dallas severance lawyer Barry Hersh and his Dallas employment law firm counsel, assist, and represent executives, managers, professionals, and other Texas employees confronted with the severance process--whether the termination is voluntary or involuntary. Barry tailors a specific severance negotiation strategy for each client to reflect that employee's particular employment circumstances, leverage, and negotiation needs. Sometimes this involves the client negotiating his/her own severance package with the law firm providing behind-the-scenes severance negotiation strategy. In other circumstances, this may involve the law firm organizing and coordinating a severance negotiation team of tax specialists, Industry recruiters, and others. Sometimes a more insistent approach, coupled with litigation, is necessary.
Severance Considerations: Money and More
It's no surprise that the issues surrounding severance are many and complex. Common issues involve questions concerning compensation; communications to prospective employers, colleagues, and others; outplacement services; insurance and fringe benefits; post employment obligations and cooperation; and more. The most common questions include:
- What compensation will I get? Is it fair?
- When will I receive it?
- Will I get a prorated share of my expected year-end bonus?
- When--and how--will others be told of my termination?
- Is a press release appropriate? What reason will be provided?
- Are health, life, and other insurance programs to be continued? If so, at whose expense?
- Will I receive outplacement assistance?
- Will the company indemnify me for acts taken while I was employed?
- What effect will this have on my unvested stock options? How about my vested but unexercised options?
- Will the company release me from my Texas non-compete agreement? If not, is it enforceable?
The First Step to Negotiating a Successful Severance Package
Severance is rarely the "take-it-or-leave-it" proposition that companies lead many employees to believe. It's an interactive process. But what is important to remember is that you only get one shot at doing it right. Your objective is to do your best for yourself and your family, and position yourself for the start of the next chapter of a successful career.
If you believe that your employment is about to terminate or your employer recently provided you with a severance agreement, contact Dallas Severance Lawyer Barry Hersh by completing the law firm's online inquiry form. The law firm generally provides consultations concerning severance agreements on a flat fee basis based on several factors, including the complexity of the agreement, the deadline to arrive at a mutually acceptable agreement, and other factors.
Practical Considerations relating to Severance
- Consult with a Dallas severance lawyer immediately upon receiving your severance agreement. Most agreements are subject to deadlines.
- Gather copies of your important employment-related documents and keep a copy of them at home. These may include your employment agreement, compensation plans, commission or bonus agreement, non-compete, intellectual proprietary inventions agreement, mandatory arbitration agreement, retiree medical benefit and other health plans, and more.
- Don't retain (or forward to a personal e-mail address) any of your employer's confidential business information or trade secrets. Taking an employer's documents and information is not "leverage" in severance negotiations. It's an invitation for a lawsuit.
- If you believe that your termination is the result of unlawful retaliation, file a report with your employer's Human Resources department, the Texas Workforce Commission, or EEOC before your discharge. Time permitting, contact a Dallas employment lawyer before filing your complaint.
- Don't "resign" before a severance agreement is negotiated and signed.