As an employee, you face a difficult decision any time an employer offers you a severance package. Depending on the terms of the offer, accepting the offer as it is may be the best option, but it is always wise to review the offer carefully.
Sometimes, an employer offers a severance package hoping to resolve a conflict before it becomes very costly or affects the productivity of the company. It is important to understand why your employer offered you a severance package before you accept it without any negotiation. In many instances, accepting the first offer leaves money or other benefits on the table.
What is your employer not offering?
As you consider a severance package, it is important to understand what your employer's offer includes and, more importantly, what it does not include. Even if the offer itself includes strong financial considerations, it may not relieve you of some obligations to your employer. Over time, these obligations can make other employment difficult, or may leave you vulnerable to legal action from your current employer.
If your severance package does not include any release of rights from your employer, you should evaluate this carefully. Your severance package should ideally include fair financial consideration as well as release of rights by your employer.
Why is your employer letting you go?
Some employers use severance package offers as a way to get around firing someone for a discriminatory reason, such as age. If you have any reason to believe that your age or some other aspect of yourself protected by law led to discrimination, you should look into your legal options.
Employers use these offers to avoid further legal complications when letting an employee go. If you believe that your employer wants you to accept your severance package so that you do not file a discrimination suit, you should weigh your options. Simply accepting the offer may help you out in the short term, while allowing your employer to continue discriminatory practices.
Understand your rights and priorities
Negotiating a strong severance package begins with understanding your rights and priorities. Once you understand what you ought to expect from such an offer, you can confidently evaluate an offer and work toward a fair resolution.
Using strong legal tools and guidance, your can keep your rights secure, but only if you take action to keep them protected.