Maybe you are an executive who took a chance on a startup that has since proven hostile to all outside hires. Perhaps you are an architect who accepted a job at a local firm and negotiated relocation and severance packages during the onboarding process.
Many highly-educated and highly-compensated professionals expect to receive severance packages when they leave the company that employs them. Unfortunately, not every worker who negotiated a severance package when they accepted a job will get the pay and benefits they agreed upon when they leave the company.
What can you do if you believe your employer unfairly denied you your severance package?
Review your contract and the company handbook
There may be clear documentation showing that the company has violated its agreement with you or its standard operating procedures. The first step professionals denied a severance package need to take is to locate and review their original agreement with the company. Any emails with human resources specifying certain matters could also help.
Finally, the company handbook might also include certain rules or policies regarding severance matters. Reviewing those documents can help you affirm whether or not the company breached its agreement with you.
Get the company to take you seriously
All too often, businesses think that they can demand large concessions if they just write a worker up before terminating them or let them go as part of a mass layoff. You need to signal to the company that you intend to assert yourself. Referencing the exact terms of your contract is a good starting point.
Many workers find that bringing in an employment attorney is necessary to get the company to take their concerns seriously. More importantly, legal representation means that you won’t have to handle the stress of negotiating the matter on your own behalf.
You can rely on a professional familiar with the law and the rules of employment contracts to negotiate on your behalf. Although federal rules do not require that companies offer severance packages, they do have an obligation to fulfill their contractual promises to their employees. Barring unusual scenarios, such as criminal activity or sexual harassment of coworkers, companies usually cannot justify terminating someone and refusing to pay agreed-upon severance when doing so.
Taking the right steps when facing possible employment contract violations by an employer will help you better stand up for yourself.