Can I Negotiate My Severance Agreement?

Severance agreement document with magnifying glass. Should you negotiate your severance agreement?

If your employer ends your employment, it may offer you a severance agreement. This contract grants you and your employer certain rights and obligations. 

1. What Is Included In My Severance Agreement?

Your severance agreement may include:

  1. A certain amount of money that your employer will pay you as severance;
  2. Terms regarding health care coverage or COBRA;
  3. Your rights to any bonuses or commissions;
  4. The details about your equity, stock options, and other incentive payments;
  5. A release of claims and covenant not to sue;
  6. Confidentiality and non-disparagement provisions;
  7. A characterization of your separation (layoff, termination, etc.);
  8. Terms regarding non-compete and non-solicitation provisions;
  9. How references will be addressed; and, 
  10. Potentially many other terms.

2. Why May I Want To Negotiate My Severance Agreement?

While each case is different, it may be appropriate to try to negotiate your severance agreement because: 

  1. The terms would make it very hard for you to secure new employment; 
  2. You have suffered damages that the severance agreement does not adequately cover; 
  3. The severance agreement protects your employer’s interests but not yours;
  4. The terms are not fair; and, 
  5. Potentially many other reasons.

Woman negotiating with her employer about her severance agreement.

3. How Do I Know If I Should Try To Negotiate My Severance Agreement?

Speak with an experienced employment law attorney before you decide to accept, reject, or try to negotiate a severance agreement. Each case is unique and there are risks and benefits to trying to negotiate a severance agreement. 

The lawyers at the Maura Greene Law Group can help you understand your severance agreement and evaluate the risks and rewards of trying to negotiate your severance agreement. 

Contact us at 617-936-1580 or email us at [email protected] 

The Not-So-Fine Print:

We see patterns in our practice, like the ones described above. However, every case has its own unique facts. Before you take any action, you should contact an employment lawyer and get advice on your own situation. We can’t provide legal advice here and this isn’t intended as legal advice. It is best, if possible, to establish a relationship with an attorney before a workplace issue turns into a crisis. Employees who have received a verbal or written warning or performance improvement plan should contact counsel now. Ditto for employees who are seeing their doctor for workplace-related stress or anxiety.