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Understanding Severance Agreements in Connecticut

Posted on in Business Law

Greenwich business contract attorneysSeverance agreements contain important rights and responsibilities for both employers and employees. Whether you are an employer or an employee who has been asked to sign a severance contract, it is crucial that you understand what you are agreeing to. Failing to understand what the severance agreement actually means can lead to stress, misunderstandings, and even lawsuits. This is why it is important to discuss any questions and concerns you have about severance packages with an experienced employee contracts lawyer.

What is the Purpose of a Severance Agreement?

A severance agreement is a contract an employee signs upon termination. The main purpose of a severance agreement is to prevent terminated employees from filing a wrongful termination action against the employer. In exchange for signing the agreement, the employee receives severance pay, or compensation beyond the term of his or her employment.

Many employees are thrilled to receive severance pay, as this compensation can greatly reduce the financial strain created by a job loss. However, employees must carefully review the terms of the agreement and work with an attorney to understand the rights that they are giving up in exchange for severance benefits. Most separation agreements include restrictive covenants including non-disclosure agreements, non-compete agreements, and non-solicitation agreements. They also require the terminated employee to release all legal claims. This means that the employee gives up his or her right to sue.

Do I Have a Right to a Severance Agreement if I Was Fired or Laid Off?

Unless an employee’s union contract or employee contract or the employer’s severance policy requires a pre-established amount of severance pay, the employer is not required to offer severance pay. In most cases, severance pay is up to the employer’s discretion. If you have been terminated and you are unsure of your rights regarding severance pay, contact an employment lawyer for assistance.

Do I Have to Agree to a Severance Package?

Employees are not required to agree to the terms of the severance agreement. In fact, if an employee is forced or coerced into signing a severance agreement, the agreement will likely be unenforceable. If you are unhappy with the terms of the agreement, you have the right to make a counteroffer. Your lawyer can negotiate the terms of the severance agreement with your former employer on your behalf.  

Contact a Greenwich Employment Law Attorney

Whether you are an employer or an employee, never sign a severance agreement without fully understanding what you are signing. Severance agreements are long, legally-complex documents with profound consequences. For sound legal guidance regarding severance agreements, employment contracts, and more, contact the skilled Connecticut severance agreement lawyers at Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC. Call 203-661-6000 for a free consultation.




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