Severance Agreements: An Opportunity for Employees

Employees in Massachusetts who are laid off or terminated from their jobs may receive a severance agreement to review and sign.  While being laid off or terminated is typically a very traumatic event,  an employee should not lose sight of the fact that a severance agreement may also present an opportunity.

Severance agreements are usually drafted from a management perspective and with the interests of the company in mind.  Depending upon the company and the particular employee,  the provisions in the agreement may be negotiable.  This presents an opportunity for an employee to include provisions that will be helpful in a job transition.

A severance agreement may present an opportunity to:

(1) have the employer agree not to contest unemployment;

(2) include a negotiated reference;

(3) provide for some continuation of salary with severance pay;

(4) provide for continuation of health insurance coverage;

(5) restrict what management may say to prospective employers and to employees;

(6) release the employee from any claims by the employer;

(7) determine post-termination benefits; and

(8) assist the employee in transitioning to another job by providing outplacement services.

Depending upon the circumstances of the particular employee, other matters may need to be negotiated.  A severance agreement is a contract and it should be reviewed and considered carefully.

If you have any questions concerning the information in this post, please contact Massachusetts employment attorney Maura Greene at 617-936-1580.